Scientist activist group AGHAM – Advocates of Science and Technology for the People expressed wariness on the nuclear agreement between the Philippines and Russia, saying the pact is directly tied to the revival of the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).
“While we welcome the knowledge exchange on nuclear energy technology between Russia and the Philippines, we vehemently oppose the studies on the possible rehabilitation of the BNPP, an environmental and health hazard with obsolete technology, perilously placed atop the active Lubao fault and on the slopes of Mt. Natib, a capable volcano,” said Finesa Cosico, Secretary-General of AGHAM.
During the sidelines of the 12th East Asia Summit on November 13, Russian Federation State Atomic Energy Corp. (Rosatom) Deputy Director General Nikolai Spassky and Philippine Department of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi inked a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) on nuclear energy studies between the two countries.
The MOC includes the audit and assessment of the BNPP and its rehabilitation as one of the key areas, directly entailing the possibility of the BNPP’s revival in the deal. Other areas of cooperation identified are: nuclear infrastructure studies, feasibility studies on the construction of both small modular nuclear reactors and conventional nuclear power plants in the Philippines.
“Since the country doesn’t have uranium resources that can fuel nuclear power plants, we will return to a similar scenario similar to oil and coal energy, where we remain dependent on imported fuel. Right now, nuclear energy in the Philippines entails additional costs brought by importing foreign fuel sources,” said Cosico.
“Nuclear energy also has direct costs that can be passed on to the people such as nuclear tax, decommissioning costs, and waste disposal costs. This can result to higher rates for electricity consumers,” she added.
Instead of nuclear cooperation, AGHAM suggested that Russia and other countries help us develop our own technologies to harness the indigenous and renewable energy sources we are rich in such as geothermal, wind, and hydropower in order to provide accessible, affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy for the Filipino people.
“Outlined under a comprehensive plan for the energy industry which considers its linkages with other industries, such a path will lead to energy sufficiency and lower cost of electricity for consumers and industries,” ended Cosico.#