The Department of Energy (DOE) and Congress are looking to explore public-private partnerships (PPP) or build-operate-transfer (BOT) arrangements in order to deploy nuclear power technologies in the country.
In a report by the Manila Bulletin, Energy undersecretary Sharon Garin said that the policy-making being weighed on in the legislative branch is to push for PPP or BOT deal to be included in the regulatory framework for the revival of nuclear energy in the country, which includes the installation of small modular reactors (SMRs), and the targeted revival of the mothballed 620-megawatt (MW) Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).
Garin said that Congress will decide if there will be an exception to the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) or if the DOE will assign an agency of the government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC) to develop nuclear power in the country.
The energy official added that the other option mirrors conventional power where “we will leave it to the private sector or we can do PPP or BOT.”
Under the EPRIA, the government is prohibited from entering power generation projects.
Earlier, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said the country needs to reexamine the strategy of building nuclear power plants to meet the growing power demand in the country.
With regard to the revival of the BNPP, Garin said that a third-party study will likely be done to review the “obsolescing bargain” on the technology used on the mothballed power plant and whether it will still be viable for electricity generation.
In March, former President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order (EO) No. 164, creating a national position for a nuclear energy program.