Lawmaker files bill to revive Bataan Nuke Plant

Cusi: Chinese gov’t to help assess BNPP operations

Negros Oriental Representative Arnolfo Teves Jr. has filed a bill asking the government to revive the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) claiming it can produce cheaper electricity in the country. 

In a report by the Philippine Star, Teves said that the BNPP can “help the country cut electricity costs by almost half, in comparison to the rates of the coal-fired power plants.” 

House Bill No. 2921 or the Philippine Nuclear Act of 2022 seeks the activation and utilization of the mothballed 620 megawatts BNPP. Tevas added that in case the BNPP is no longer feasible for operation, acquiring another nuclear facility is the other option. 

Under the bill, the Department of Energy, together with the National Power Corp., Philippine Nuclear Institute (PNRI), Departments of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and Science and Technology (DOST), will be tasked to conduct an initial validation on the feasibility of the BNPP to assure that it is within the nuclear power industry standards.

In his State of the Nation Address last month, Pres. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. stressed the need to reexamine the country’s strategy of building nuclear power plants. 

In related developments, Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla said that the country is looking at a “coordinated policy-framing” approach with the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on its development of nuclear power projects, including small modular reactors (SMRs). 

In a report by the Manila Bulletin, Lotilla said that the DOE is exploring a regional approach as other ASEAN counties are also planning to put up SMRs

SMRs, as defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency, are “advanced nuclear reactors that have a power capacity of up to 300MW, which is about one-third of traditional nuclear power reactors.”

Lotilla recommended that the country invests in SMRs once the technology becomes commercially available.