Robredo open to discuss nuke, Senatoriables okay to revive BNPP

Cusi: Chinese gov’t to help assess BNPP operations

Vice President Leni Robredo said that she is open to discussing the possibility of tapping nuclear power to help boost the country’s energy sector.

“It’s definitely on the table,” Robredo said at a forum organized by the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines on Friday. 

“While I am open to discussions, it is very, very clear that the priority now should be moving away from fossil fuel dependence towards a shift to renewable energy [(RE)]. We should also ensure that energy costs do not hamper our economic trajectory. [This] is a very contentious issue, but as I’ve said, it’s on the table,” she added.

The Vice President added that proper safeguards and technology on safety to minimize environmental impact should be discussed along with tapping nuclear power, emphasizing that these are “very crucial.” 

Robredo said in the same forum that energy security is a top concern given the Malampaya gas field’s dwindling reserves.

Back in August, Philippine Nuclear Research Institute Director Carlo Arcilla presented nuclear power as a form of RE. This comes as the Duterte administration has yet to finalize its policy on nuclear energy.

Meanwhile, some senatorial aspirants consider reviving the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) as the country faces a possible energy crisis. 

During CNN Philippines’ recent senatorial forum, incumbent senator Richard Gordon, as well as former senators JV Ejercito and Francis Escudero expressed their openness to reviving the BNPP, provided that thorough analysis must be done. 

Re-electionist Gordon particularly stressed the need to consider the budget for the mothballed plant’s rehabilitation, as it would cost around Php100 billion. Ejercito, meanwhile, acknowledged the need for safety measures, but would also reconsider restarting the plant to help lower electricity costs. Escudero, currently sitting as Sorsogon governor, shares the same view as Ejercito, though stressed that experts need to consider whether it would be better to revive the existing plant or create a new one.