PNRI head urges Du30 to sign EO for nuke power

carlo arcilla edited

The head of the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) has appealed to Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to sign the executive order (EO) seeking to tap nuclear power as part of the country’s energy mix.

PNRI Director Dr. Carlo Arcilla, in a Manila Bulletin report, said he anticipates a “crucial energy crisis” in the coming months with the depletion of the Malampaya gas field’s resources, prompting him to tell the chief executive that the country’s nuclear energy program should be given attention.

The Nuclear Energy Program Inter-Agency Committee (NEP-IAC) submitted its position paper to the President back in January. The paper was submitted in compliance with EO116, in which Duterte gave the NEP-IAC six months from July 2020 to come up with a national position on such a program. The Department of Energy chairs the committee, while PNRI — an attached agency of the Department of Science and Technology — serves as vice-chair.

Arcilla said the last he heard on the matter was that the draft is being reviewed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea. The PNRI chief also hopes that Duterte, whose term has six and a half months left, would “leave a lasting legacy” by signing the EO on the country’s nuclear energy policy.

It could be recalled that Arcilla positioned nuclear power as a form of renewable energy (RE) at an online form last August. Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi has also been pushing for the inclusion of nuclear in the Philippines’ energy mix, also in a bid to reduce fuel imports.

Relative to this, BDO Unibank — the country’s largest bank — recently said it is open to funding both nuclear and RE projects to help ensure the country’s energy security.