PNRI: Bataan nuke plant safe to revive

Cusi: Chinese gov’t to help assess BNPP operations

The controversial Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) can still operate safely despite not being in use for decades, according to an official of the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI).

PNRI Director Carlo Arcilla, in a recent radio interview, claimed that a disaster similar to that of Chernobyl, Ukraine in 1986 wouldn’t happen to the BNPP.

Arcilla explained that the Chernobyl power plant’s design, which used four Soviet-designed RBMK-1000 nuclear reactors, was different from that of the BNPP’s.

The BNPP, Arcilla added, has a containment structure that would be utilized should a nuclear leak accident happen. On the other hand, Chernobyl’s design has been universally recognized as inherently flawed.

PNRI, an agency under the Department of Science and Technology, had already said that nuclear energy is safe, but perception is the problem.

Built during the regime of former President Ferdinand Marcos, the BNPP was the country’s only attempt at harnessing nuclear energy. However, safety concerns over the 621-megawatt plant prompted the late President Corazon Aquino to discontinue operations in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster.

Over three decades later, President Rodrigo Duterte directed the Department of Energy to look into the possibility of utilizing the BNPP.