MERALCO to study the deployment of nuclear reactors

MERALCO power lines

Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) is exploring the possibility of deploying nuclear reactors in 14 potential sites identified by the Department of Energy (DOE) across the Philippines.

In a report by Inquirer, MERALCO Chief Operating Officer Ronnie Aperocho emphasized the importance of collaborating with the DOE on the specific locations for deploying the micromodular reactors developed by US-based company Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC).

While the DOE has not yet disclosed the list of potential sites and selection criteria, those interested in deploying the reactors must adhere to the National Policy and Strategy for Safety on Nuclear Energy being drafted by the department.

Earlier, MERALCO formalized its partnership with USNC to conduct a four-month pre-feasibility study to evaluate the potential utilization of micromodular reactors in the country.

MERALCO’s CEO, Manuel Pangilinan, believed that the ideal locations for these reactors would be in island provinces and cities, with a focus on meeting geologic conditions. And with the deployment of modular technology across the Philippine archipelago, it could eliminate the need for large conventional power plants.

Micro-modular reactors, with a power capacity of up to 300 megawatts (MW) per unit, are designed for deployment in smaller areas, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Furthermore, Pangilinan did not disclose the exact investment for the study but hinted that it was “less than $1 million.” He suggested that USNC might deploy its reactors in the Philippines within five to 10 years.

USNC’s modular system comprises transportable modules, including the nuclear reactor, linking together at the deployment site. The technology is already licensed in Canada and the United States, with demonstration units expected to provide the first nuclear power in 2026.