Majority of Filipinos more likely to support nuclear power plant construction — survey

Published July 1, 2022, 10:39 AM

by Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (REUTERS / FILE PHOTO)

A PUBLiCUS Asia survey has found that the “majority” of Filipinos support the construction of a nuclear power plant in the country.

In the 2022 PAHAYAG 2nd quarter nationwide survey conducted from June 16 to 22 with 1,500 respondents, 59 percent of respondents said they “approve” or “strongly approve” of “allowing the construction of a nuclear power plant in the Philippines.”

Meanwhile, 22 percent said they “disapprove” or “strongly disapprove” of the construction of a nuclear plant.

“This is the third-highest total disapproval rating among all 14 issues tested on the survey, behind ‘allowing the construction of more coal plants in the Philippines’ (26 percent) and ‘accreditation of bloggers/vloggers in Malacañang’ (24 percent),” PUBLiCUS said in a statement on Friday, July 1.

“Our survey numbers suggest that proposals to add nuclear power to the Philippine energy mix may enjoy considerable support among the general public. At the same time, nuclear energy’s relatively high disapproval rate indicates that it could be a polarizing issue in future policy discussions,” PUBLiCUS executive director Aureli Sinsuat pointed out.

Meanwhile, 47 percent said they approve or strongly approve of the construction of additional coal power plants in the Philippines.

“It is interesting to note that our respondents appear to view nuclear power as a more appealing continuous energy source than coal. This could provide an opening for advocates to lobby more aggressively for the addition of nuclear power to the energy mix,” Sinsuat said.

Sinsuat also said that it would be reasonable to expect “significant policy continuity” between the Duterte and Marcos Jr. administrations in nuclear energy.

“This February, President Duterte issued Executive Order No. 164 adopting a national position for the introduction of nuclear power into the country’s energy mix. President Marcos Jr. lauded EO 164 during the campaign period and voiced clear intent to follow through with the national nuclear energy policy. Thus, we can expect significant policy continuity in favor of nuclear power between the Duterte and Marcos Jr. administrations,” he said.