‘Leave a very lasting legacy’: President Duterte urged to sign EO on PH nuclear energy program

Published December 6, 2021, 9:44 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

Anticipating that the Philippines may face “crucial energy crisis” in the next few months, the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PNRI) appealed Monday, Dec. 6, to President Duterte to sign an executive order seeking to tap nuclear energy as part of the country’s energy mix.

(Photo from DOST-PNRI)

DOST-PNRI Director Dr. Carlo Arcilla said the national position on a nuclear energy program should be given due attention, as power crisis may be expected in the new months.

“We submitted the draft executive order, the national position, almost one year ago. The last I heard it is being reviewed by the Executive Secretary so we are in a praying and waiting mode,” he said in a virtual presser on Monday as part of the DOST-PNRI’s Atomic Energy Week celebration.

“If that national position is not signed, it means that the whole milestones, the 19 milestones will not move forward. Any talk on nuclear power will be theoretical, that’s how important it is.”

In July 2020, President Duterte signed Executive Order 116 creating the National Energy Program Inter-Agency Committee (NEP-IAC) to look into the adoption of a national position on a Nuclear Energy Program.

“I am making an appeal for the President to sign it because he created the committee in the first place to explore that. The Interagency committee, unanimously we discussed it. We had to educate all committee members, many committee members were not aware of nuclear [power] so when we started in July 2020 until December, a big part of those were actually briefing the other members of government about the basic aspects of nuclear power and we were very open,” Arcilla said.

The PNRI chief said they spearheaded “totally transparent” and “very open” discussions on nuclear power.

“We have webinars like with Japan so that they can ask. We want to be totally transparent. The IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) is actually, they have learned from the past and they are advocating transparency and I being the head of PNRI, I would advocate transparency in nuclear especially because it is controversial. The only way that you can expose the falsehoods is to be totally truthful about it.

DOST-PNRI is the vice chair of the NEP-IAC. The Committee is led by the Department of Energy (DOE).

“Hopefully, the word will come from the President that he will leave a very lasting legacy if he signs that national position. Why do I say that because as I said, I reaffirm this, we will have a crucial energy crisis in the next few months unless the Malampaya situation is abyss. One of the first steps to help curb the problems there is to provide potential alternatives and nuclear has to be one of them,” Arcilla said.

Arcilla had explained that once the EO is signed, the DOE will serve “main implementor” of the Nuclear Energy Program, while PNRI will serve as the regulator.

READ MORE: http://https://mb.com.ph/2021/02/27/entry-of-nuclear-power-into-phs-energy-mix-recommended-to-president-duterte-dost-pnri/