MERALCO eyeing USTDA grant on nuclear study

meralco – nuclear

The Manila Electric Co. (MERALCO)  is eyeing financial support from the United States government to conduct a feasibility study on the development of nuclear energy in the country. 

In a report by the Philippine Star, MERALCO looks at nuclear power, particulary small modular reactors (SMRs), as part of its adoption of next-generation clean energy technologies. 

MERALCO president and CEO Ray Espinosa said they are applying for a grant with the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) for the feasibility study. 

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.”

MERALCO believes that SMRs are more suitable for the country, rather than conventional types of nuclear power plants. 

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, who used to chair the Senate Committee on Energy, earlier said that SMRS may enter the country in two to six years. 

The Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) director Carlo Arcilla said that adopting SMRs is more ideal that reviving the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP). 

Energy undersecretary Sharon Garin earlier said nuclear energy, from the feasibility up to the development stage, may take time as it “is a very sensitive issue and sensitive technology.” 

Executive Order No. 164, signed by former Pres. Rodrigo Duterte forms the national position for a nuclear energy program. Under this, nuclear power will be included in the country’s energy mix through the Philippine Energy Plan.