Decision on Nuke power depends on economics, compliance with safety rules

Cusi: Chinese gov’t to help assess BNPP operations

Incorporating nuclear power into the Philippine energy mix depends on project economics and the country’s ability to comply with safety requirements, the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) said. 

In a report by Business World, a study by Adoracion Navarro states that the decision on whether to rehabilitate the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) must be guided by project economics, citing that the Korea study claims that the rehabilitation is technically feasible, while a Russian assessment states that it will be costly at may raise concerns if the rehabilitation would be worth it. 

The South Korean government has offered to rehabilitate the BNPP for around $1 billion, the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute said. 

In 2017, the Department of Energy (DOE) placed a price on the BNPP rehabilitation at $1.17 billion to be performed by Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. Ltd., KEPCO KPS, and Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction. The project covers preliminary work, purchasing, replacement parts, inspection, 

The PIDS study further stated that deploying small modular reactors (SMRs) will hinge on the country’s ability to meet the requirements indicated by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). 

The Philippines now has a national position on nuclear power, which is one of the 19 milestones indicated by the IAEA. One of the obstacles faced is the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001, which bars the government from engaging in power generation projects. 

PIDS said that the EPIRA is “the biggest hurdle” to be cleared if the BNPP revival would push through. It added that the country would need to ‘ratify international legal instruments signed in the past and the existing legal framework for nuclear energy development and regulation must be updated. 

DOE is looking to create a Nuclear Power Roadmap as part of its key priorities for 2023.