on nuclear energy : aquino, de los reyes, madrigal & perlas no to nukes; gordon, teodoro, villanueva and villar yes to nukes

PDI has an excellent series of articles, “Talk Of The Town” where they ask all the presidentiables their stand on issues and topics. We are printing here the latest installement. 

Stand on nuke energy, power crisis
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:26:00 03/13/2010

THE COUNTRY has been hit by outages as a result of low-generating capacity of hydroelectric plants due to the dry spell, and the breakdown and maintenance of power plants. Mindanao is particularly hard hit, suffering from rolling brownouts lasting 8 to 10 hours a day.

The shortfall in the country’s power supply has brought into focus the need to come up with additional sources of electricity.

Two provinces – Pangasinan and Cebu – have expressed interest in nuclear power.

Whether the country will adopt nuclear-power technology will depend on the policy of the next President.

Talk of the Town asked the following questions to the presidential candidates to get a sense of their position on nuclear power and the energy shortfall.

Are you in favor of nuclear power to address the power shortage?

Why? Why not?

If you’re in favor, would you revive the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant?

Isn’t it too costly to pursue a nuclear program?

How will safety concerns be addressed? (Earthquakes, storage and disposal of spent nuclear fuel)

Benigno Aquino III
Liberal Party

I would rather exhaust other means than resort to nuclear power. We have other perceivably safer sources of renewable energy.

Nuclear energy has reemerged as an option to satiate the world’s present and future electricity needs. However, it continues to face “social acceptability” problems because of fears about the safety of its use. There are other sources of energy that have less chances of endangering the lives of people.

In the case of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, it has a large amount of documented safety hazards and may pose a threat to the safety and/or well-being of the residents around it.

The challenge for both government policymakers and private-sector stakeholders lies in exploring and developing energy resources safely, economically and in an environmentally responsible manner. The pace of development must also be efficient and timely to meet forecast demand.

Neither renewables nor fossil fuels and nuclear power can bring immediate “energy self-sufficiency.” We must pursue an optimal mix of sources of energy immediately and aggressively if we hope to meet our future needs. The energy mix should be able to reduce risks associated with the supply, price volatility and production cost.

The government must also take an active role in pushing for a comprehensive competition policy. Submitted by Aquino’s staff


Manuel Villar
Nacionalista Party

Yes (I’m in favor of nuclear power to address the power shortage.)

At this point where there is an energy crisis, all options are open. The availability of more safe and environment-friendly nuclear technology and the experience of other nations using it should be reason enough to pursue it.

An experts’ commission (from the Department of Transportation and Communication, Department of Energy, academe and private sector) should be created to reassess the feasibility of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. Primary concerns that should be addressed by them are the safety issues and the economics of reviving it and its potential to address the perennial energy crisis we are experiencing.

I have always been a cost-benefit kind of manager. The costs should be weighed against the benefits. If in the long run nuclear technology solves the crisis in power, this will bring in more investments to our economy and open up opportunities for the people.

How will safety concerns be addressed (earthquakes, storage and disposal of spent nuclear fuel)?

This is the reason why there is a need for a thorough study participated in by the experts and all stakeholders, so we can look at safety concerns and to make sure that the undertaking will work for our benefit and not harm us in any way. Submitted by Villar’s staff


Joseph Estrada
Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino

Countries like Taiwan are using nuclear power for electricity. Why can’t we do that? I’m in favor of using the nuclear power plant but we have to transfer the location (from Bataan) because it is near an earthquake fault. We should use it.

We paid for it for many years. It was only recently that it was fully paid. However, since it is near a fault line, why not relocate it?

The government should have anticipated the power crisis. With the growth of our population, there really would be a shortage in energy. There were independent power producers before but our experience only resulted in more graft and corruption. There should be no sovereign or government guarantees.

I’m in favor of alternate sources of energy such as geothermal energy. I’m in favor of anything that would help solve our power crisis. Interview by Norman Bordadora


Richard Gordon

I am in favor of using nuclear power. It is really, in the long run, much cheaper.

The only problem with nuclear waste is how to store it. But it is clean in the long run.

Besides, there are nuclear plants all around us. Taiwan has a nuclear plant. Japan has a nuclear plant.

What is the alternative? It now seems that we can’t do anything right. It’s damned if you do and damned if you don’t with dams. You don’t want coal.

In our country, we keep putting fear and doubt in our aspirations. It is necessary that we learn to accept that if other countries are capable, we are also capable.

The other countries trust our sailors with their lives at sea. They trust our pilots to fly airplanes. I don’t see why we cannot do this with nuclear power.

Regarding the debate about the revival of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, I will have to consult the people there first. It seems like a disgrace that we paid for it and we never got a single volt of power from there.

If the people of Bataan will approve it, then I am not afraid of it. But if the people will be against it because they have studied the issue carefully, then that is also OK. Interview by Edson C. Tandoc Jr.

JC de los Reyes
Ang Kapatiran

Under its current level of technology and the nature of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant’s design (i.e. fission technology), it is a definite NO, I am not in favor of reviving the BNPP.

We should explore other possible uses of the infrastructure such as converting it to natural-gas or biomass-fed system. Careful consideration, however, must be made should fusion technology be perfected as this may provide the cleanest and safest source of vast energy that we can tap for our own sustainable development.

The shortfall in power supply, especially in the Visayas and Mindanao, must be addressed with a combination of short-term measures and medium- and long-term energy plan with emphasis on the development of clean, sustainable and renewable energy resources.

Power purchase agreements entered into by previous administrations with power generators must continuously be reviewed and, in some cases, renegotiated when found unjust and iniquitous to consumers who ultimately pay for the mistakes made by government.

Cross ownership among utility providers in generation, transmission and distribution must be disallowed by amending the provisions of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira).

Cross ownership is unjust as it opens the industry to monopoly and cartel pricing to the detriment of consumers.

The fourth sector, the aggregator, created under the Epira, must now be allowed to operate as contemplated in the law. In instances when distribution companies refuse to allow aggregation, the state must compel them by using stipulations on sanctions contained in the law or by using police powers in support of public interest. Aggregation will certainly drive power prices down, which is beneficial to the general public. Interview by Jerome Aning


Maria Ana Consuelo Madrigal

I say no to nukes and emergency powers for Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, but yes to energy resolutions to remedy the power crisis.

Emergency powers and nuclear energy will only serve the political interests of the dying days of the Arroyo administration and her cronies.

Nuclear energy is not only expensive but also dangerous to the health and well-being of Filipinos.

Running a nuclear power plant is not something that can easily be started. Also, toxic wastes are not easily disposable.

What we need at this juncture to remedy the power crisis is an energy revolution as proposed by Greenpeace and other environmental groups.

Greenpeace urges that we move away from our dependence on fossil fuels and reduce carbon emissions.

We need to establish as well stricter efficiency standards for energy-consuming appliances, vehicles and even buildings.

Finally, we need to remove the monopolies in the energy sector. Interview by Jerry Esplanada


Nicanor Perlas

Why should we lock ourselves up in a technology that’s expensive and problematic?

The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant cannot be repaired to provide safe and reliable power, even if the government spends $2 billion to $3 billion. A nuclear plant takes 6 to 10 years to build. A 1,000-megawatt plant will cost around $5 billion. A nightmare scenario is a coolant accident, and we’re terrorist prone.

We can rely on geothermal power (to address the shortfall in power supply). It’s faster to construct and we have the technology and experience. We’ll push “nega-watt” or efficient technology to reduce energy consumption by 30 percent. A smart grid can empower families to become producers of wind or solar energy. Interview by DJ Yap


Gilberto Teodoro Jr.

I’m in favor of studying the possibility of tapping nuclear power. It depends on suitable locations and what to do with [radioactive] waste. I think we should explore that possibility. Many countries are doing it, like the United Arab Emirates, which is an oil-exporting country. I don’t see why we should not do it in the Philippines.

And no to the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP). No to the rehabilitation of that. Other plants, puwede siguro (possibly). The claim is, there are a lot of technical faults. The BNPP is also in an area close to a volcanic fault line. There’s just too much acrimony. The community doesn’t want it.

To address the shortfall in power supply, we need alternative and sustainable sources of energy. It’s not necessarily cheaper but that’s for the long run. In the short run, probably the only novel thing I can think of is to allow big firms to import generating equipment tax-free and to take away whatever penalties for self-generation that is contained in the Epira. Interview by TJ Burgonio


Eduardo Villanueva
Bangon Pilipinas

If there is a well-prepared project with guaranteed safety nets, I am open to explore nuclear power like in Norway and Korea where power rates are low. They have nuclear plants. What’s important is we have a well-prepared project devoid of corruption. We must first exhaust all other alternative sources.

At the right time and the right location where there is no earthquake fault, plus guaranteed safety nets, I am open to the utilization of nuclear power because of our super-high power rates.

But I’m against reopening the BNPP because of the inherent defects in the project. It could be used for better worthwhile projects to benefit the economy.

(Isn’t it too costly to pursue a nuclear program?) I can only make a sound decision upon proper study.

Safety concerns will be included in the study. We can’t justify a nuclear-power project without including safety concerns. Interview by Dona Pazzibugan


If you’re not in favor of nuclear power, how will you address the shortfall in power supply, especially in the Visayas and Mindanao?

  1. catcat
    March 17, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    it still saddens me that up to this time, noynoy is still pro-RH bill.
    but behind that unpopular decision, i see his integrity to stand and stick to his agenda/ beliefs since day one.

    • leonora
      April 14, 2010 at 7:55 pm

      yeah..we have the same feeling but with the other candidate.. i’m also saddened by the stand of Nicanor Perlas about the planned to have the divorce law..

  2. leonora
    April 14, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    please do consider condidates who are taking the consideration the welfare of our environment..

  1. March 28, 2010 at 10:07 pm
  2. May 2, 2010 at 9:09 am
  3. May 2, 2010 at 10:06 am
  4. May 21, 2010 at 9:24 am

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