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

March 15, 2010 7 comments

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
Bagumbayan

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.

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