The government should look into the feasibility of installing a nuclear power plant in the Philippines after President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an energy deal with Russia.
This was the statement of Chairman of Senate Committee on Energy Senator Sherwin Gatchalian.
“Without looking at the deal that they went into, what they can initially do is to study, first and foremost the feasibility, safety and possibility of having nuclear energy in our country,” Gatchalian told Manila Bulletin reporters.
“My position is that we should be careful. We should take extra precautionary measures when entering into a nuclear deal because we lack laws that promote nuclear power here in the country,” he added.
Earlier Duterte confirmed that a possible construction of floating nuclear power plants in the country is one of the business agreements signed.
However, he said that the deal may be unconstitutional.
“The Constitution would not like it. That is why I have to talk to the Cabinet. I cannot affirm or deny that because that’s part of the proposals,” Duterte was quoted as saying, adding that he would consult his Cabinet if the deal needs the consent of Congress.
Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation has been reported to offer its bid to the construction of a nuclear station in the Philippines, according to Russian media.
The revival of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) is still an issue due to its safety and operational concerns.
Gatchalian added that the government should address the issue of proper disposal management of nuclear wastes.
“We need laws that would address how to transfer nuclear wastes, where to store these nuclear wastes. So we have to be very cautious moving forward because we still lack the laws and framework for nuclear energy,” he said.
“We are one of the most dense countries in the world. That has been noted in many studies. So where can we store these nuclear wastes and making sure it is not near urban centers? We are a tropical nation also, where can we build it and ensure it won’t be an environmental issue?” Gatchalian expounded.
Gatchalian also said that Russia, China, and Korea are the three countries knowledgeable when it comes to technical aspects of nuclear energy.
“So we can start on that note; we can start with conducting an in-depth study. Russia already has a solid experience. They’re now the second biggest nuclear generating country in the whole world,” Gatchalian said.