The Philippines and the United States have started discussing a possible agreement on establishing a nuclear power plant. However, the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) insisted they are still open to talks with other countries.
It can be recalled that during his visit to the Philippines last week, US Vice President Kamala Harris announced the “123 agreement” between Manila and Washington, which will provide a legal basis for the export of American nuclear equipment to the Philippines.
“It does not lock us into the American negotiation policy. We are still open to other countries,” assured Carlo Arcilla, executive director of PNRI.
Among those who said they would help the Philippines with its nuclear needs in South Korea, which is said to have a plant that is the exact model of the one in the country.
“Puwede raw nilang patakbuhin ‘yung planta within 5 years. ‘Yan po ang pinakamabilis na paraan para magkaroon ng nuclear power sa bansa kahit na 620 megawatts,” said Arcilla.
France, China, and Japan, which have long used nuclear energy, are some of the other options the government is looking at.
Philippines, US discussing nuclear power
But South Korea is said to be the most active and has offered to revive the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.
Despite this, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is said to be still the one to decide on this.
The Bataan Nuclear Power Facility is located on a government reservation near Napot Point in Morong, Bataan. It was never fueled. It was the Philippines’ only nuclear power plant effort. It was decommissioned because of safety concerns following the 1986 Chornobyl tragedy in Ukraine and corruption issues.
Furthermore, the late President Ferdinand Marcos signed Letter of Instruction No. 957, s. 1979, published on November 13, 1979, stating that the project’s completion was impossible owing to potential threats to the public’s health and safety.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant was a focal location for anti-nuclear rallies. The construction was criticized for posing potential harm to public health, especially due to the plant’s location in an earthquake zone near Mount Natib, a volcano with a crater comparable to Mount Pinatubo.
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