Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) is in discussions with two American nuclear power companies for collaboration on nuclear technology as a long-term solution for the country.
The interest in the collaboration is to discover how these companies build and operate nuclear equipment and how they can be applicable to the Philippines via a demonstration project.
In a report by the Manila Bulletin, MERALCO Chairman and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan recognized that these discussions concurred at the same time President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was in the United States where several more companies expressed their interest in investing in the country.
Following the May meeting, one of the companies visited MERALCO and encouraged them to send a team to the University of Illinois and the state of Seattle to observe the working plant on the campus and understand how it was operated, Pangilinan said.
MERALCO is one of the energy companies in the country that have shown their intent to establish nuclear power, yet the company is also deliberating on factors such as the timeline, investment regulations, safety protocols, social acceptance, and the proficiency of Filipino personnel in managing the technology.
As per the specialists, the anticipated commercial deployment of small modular reactors (SMRs) might fall within the range of 2028 to 2030, and the licensing process is foreseen to occur in 2028.
Additionally, the company took into account the expenses associated with implementing the technology, particularly its initial capital outlay, which can significantly impact the eventual rate passed on to consumers.
According to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) strategy, nuclear power is projected to be integrated into the energy mix around 2032, aligning with the timeline set for the potential commercial utilization of emerging modular reactors.