Cusi pushing for nuke power to reduce fuel imports


Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi reiterated his department’s pro-nuclear energy stance, this time with the intention of lowering the country’s dependence on fuel imports amid rising oil prices.

In an interview on the ABS-CBN News Channel on Wednesday, Cusi pushed once again for the development of nuclear energy since this would play a “very important” role in achieving the country’s energy security.

He said the Department of Energy (DOE) has sought out the technical assistance of experts in the possible re-activation of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant and believes that the plant can be operational again once retro-fitted.

“In the midst of the pandemic, we need to have energy security. We’re going to nuclear; we’re looking at the other options [such as] hydrogen and [the] exploration of the West Philippine Sea,” Cusi said.

This is not the first time the DOE has expressed confidence in adding nuclear energy to the Philippines’ energy mix. Last year, Cusi said that the DOE together with Congress will work on the legal and regulatory frameworks of nuclear installation, once Pres. Rodrigo Duterte approves the design of the nuclear power policy, the draft of which has been submitted to Malacanang.

The secretary also expressed his belief that the concern for the negative effects of using nuclear energy is exaggerated, and that it is now safer as compared to previous decades.

“Look at Korea. They have progressed and here we are, still debating [whether we should use nuclear energy],” Cusi stressed.

Nuclear power accounted for 18.2% of South Korea’s energy mix in 2020, the third-largest category after liquefied natural gas at 32.3% and coal at 28.1%.

Last August, Philippine Nuclear Research Institute Director Carlo Arcilla positioned nuclear energy as a form of renewable energy during an online forum.

The government’s pro-nuclear energy stance has been met with criticism from the Catholic Church and civil society groups.