China offers nuclear cooperation with PH

Cusi: Chinese gov’t to help assess BNPP operations

China has expressed its interest in integrating nuclear power into the Philippines’ energy mix, the Department of Energy (DOE) revealed. 

Energy Policy and Planning Bureau (EPPB) director Michael Sinocruz said that China is “looking at a general nuclear cooperation,” and is considering whether they can rehabilitate the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) and do small modular reactors (SMRs). 

Sinocruz noted that the proposal is a “government-to-government arrangement with the DOE,” adding that they have yet to discuss the proposal received from China. 

The Energy official also disclosed that the DOE is looking to extend the Philippine Energy Plan until 2050 in order to incorporate nuclear power into the power mix. 

Sinocruz said that the DOE is still figuring out which type of nuclear power is feasible for the Philippines, adding that there are “several scenarios.” 

DOE is looking at 13 sites for nuclear conventional reactors, including the current location of the BNPP, while 15 to 16 sites are being looked at for SMRs, which have been identified based on geology and climate or “whether the area is frequently visited by typhoons.” 

The Energy department will also be conducting another survey on the public acceptance of nuclear energy, this time covering the entire country. 

The latest survey, which was conducted in 2018-2019, covered only 1,000 respondents. 

As for nuclear power’s share in the country’s energy mix, DOE said that they’re still determining the target. 

Sinocruz said they haven’t run the numbers yet as they are still discussing if the RE share can still be increased, considering the current moratorium on coal. He added that another thing to be considered is to have a policy on early coal retirement.