Cojuangco pushes nuclear mix in energy supply to increase capacity


The Duterte administration is expected to act quickly on the recommendation of an interagency committee to include nuclear power in the country’s energy mix as a long-term sustainable solution to ensure a stable and cheap electricity supply, the former said. Pangasinan representative, Mark Cojuangco. “Every summer, we face the same problem: demand increases, reserve capacity becomes scarce. We suffer from power outages every year, ”said Cojuangco, now part of Alpas Pinas, a nuclear energy advocacy group in the Philippines. “It would have been completely avoidable if from the start we had already included nuclear power as an option. If we are really concerned about the environment, then nuclear is the way to go. It’s clean and it’s reliable, ”he said. Manila Standard in an interview. Cojuangco said that apart from the dormant $ 2 billion Bataan nuclear power plant, the government should consider building “a fleet of nuclear power plants.” BNPP, the country’s first and only nuclear power plant that was supposed to generate 623 megawatts of clean energy, was shut down in 1986 due to security concerns after the Chernobyl disaster in Russia the same year. Cojuangco began lobbying publicly for the revival of the facility in 2008, but its efforts were suspended in 2011 after the incident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant following a magnitude 9.0 earthquake in the United States. Japan. However, subsequent reports from the World Health Organization and the United Nations showed that there had been “no adverse health effects” documented after the incident, which resulted in no deaths even though 16 workers were injured. Last year, Cojuangco met with President Rodrigo Duterte and Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi at the Palace to renew his case for reopening the shelved BNPP. The meeting took place months after Duterte issued Executive Decree No.116 in July establishing an interagency nuclear power program committee to assess and assess the adoption of a national position on energy use. nuclear. The DOE submitted its recommendation for including nuclear power in the energy mix in December 2020. Dr Carlo Arcilla, director of the Department of Science and Technology at the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute, said the recommendation came under the form of a draft decree. . “The recommendation that was sent to the president’s office is a draft decree. Once signed by him, he will consider the entry of nuclear into the energy mix. This is what we call the national position, ”Arcilla said in February. The DOE heads the interagency committee, with DOST-PNRI as vice-chair of NEP-IAC. The committee is chaired by the Department of Energy (DOE). “We in the PNRI will make sure that the guidelines, the safety measures – just in case we continue to use nuclear power – are in line with international best practices so that people do not have to worry. that we cannot maintain this, ”he said. . Scientific Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said that if the government decides to implement the nuclear program, DOST will do its part to ensure that safety standards are strictly observed. “DOST is open to technology. If the decision goes in this direction, we are responsible for ensuring security, ”he said. In March, DOST-PNRI and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (ANSTO), Australia’s nuclear agency, signed a memorandum of understanding to continue collaborations in a wide range of nuclear fields. “If the country decides to include nuclear power in the mix, Australia is also one of the main sources of uranium nuclear fuel,” said Dela Peña. Cojuangco said the benefits of pursuing nuclear power cannot be ignored. “Based on estimates from the National Economic and Development Authority, we will need around 13 gigawatts by 2030. That costs around $ 600 million per gigawatt of coal or gas that we have to import each year, while ‘It costs only $ 20 million per gigawatt with Nuclear Power. That’s about $ 7.8 billion in imports that we could avoid if we go nuclear, ”he said. “We cannot continue to adopt piecemeal solutions. I call on the government to fix the problem once and for all. Whatever economic recovery we foresee, it will fail if we do not meet the long-term need for a cheap and reliable supply of electricity, ”added Cojuangco.

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