Balanga bishop reiterates call to abandon BNPP rehabilitation

Published April 16, 2018, 11:54 AM

by Francine Ciasico

By Christina Hermoso

Balanga (Bataan) Bishop Ruperto Santos reiterated his call for the government to permanently abandon its plan to rehabilitate the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) to help augment the country’s source of electricity.

Bishop Ruperto Santos (CBCP / MANILA BULLETIN)
Bishop Ruperto Santos (CBCP / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Let us stop discussing about the rehabilitation of BNPP. Let the issue of its revival be put to eternal rest,” Santos said in a Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) News post. Operating the country’s only nuclear power plant, he said, will do the country more harm than good.

The bishop supported the statement of Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev, who issued a statement earlier that said the BNPP, being an old facility, can no longer be rehabilitated.

The Russian envoy said the mothballed 620-megawatt nuclear plant’s technology is “absolutely outdated” following an assessment done on the facility by Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation of Russia last year.

“That is the truth. That is the reality. Ambassador Khovaev validates our position, our stand. We are right since then about BNPP. There is no point and no reason to rehabilitate it,” Santos stressed.

Costing more than US$2 billion, the plant was built four decades ago during the term of former President Ferdinand Marcos in response to an energy crisis. The Department of Energy, the National Power Corporation, and the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) estimated the cost of reviving the BNPP in four years to reach about one billion dollars. The structure sits on a 389-hectare lot in Naot Point in Morong, Bataan.

The facility, however, never operated amid corruption allegations and safety concerns as it sits on a major earthquake fault line.

Santos said reviving the BNPP will only be a waste of government resources.

“The BNPP was built during the Martial Law so the truth was suppressed and the people were threatened. The BNPP is just a colossal monument of man’s greed, a model of graft and corruption. Reviving the BNPP is a waste of money, and never will it benefit our country. To call for its rehabilitation will only be used for money and means for corruption,” the bishop said.