Teves bill calls for new nuclear plant if BNPP can’t be used anymore

Published August 8, 2022, 5:45 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

If the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) can no longer function safely, then the Philippines must build a new nuclear plant.

Negros Oriental 3rd district Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. (Facebook)

This is the gist of House Bill (HB) No.2921 filed in the ongoing 19th Congress by Negros Oriental 3rd district Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr.

Under the bill, the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the National Power Corp. (Napocor), and the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) should conduct an initial validation on the feasibility of firing up the mothballed BNPP to make sure that it would be within the internationally accepted nuclear power industry standards.

“In the event this nuclear power plant is no longer feasible for operation, I urge the government to construct another nuclear plant or a nuclear barge, which is also safer against the earthquake, so that Filipinos can avail of lower electricity cost,” Teves said.

The former deputy speaker also said that aside from being a reliable source of energy, nuclear energy would serve as a way to alleviate the problem of global warming and climate change.

Existing power plants in the country usually rely on traditional fossil fuel, which has been proven to produce toxic substances and radioactive elements that are hazardous to humans and the environment.

“The BNPP will help our country cut electricity cost by almost half, in comparison to the rates of the coal-fired power plants,” Teves said.

He added that around 441 nuclear power plants are now in operation in at least 30 countries. This, he said, shows that nuclear power is a safe means of generating electricity, and has the ability to operate without interruption, thus making it a more reliable source of energy.

Teves’s proposal also states that only the President, after favorable recommendation by the DOE, DENR, DOST, NAPOCOR, and the PNRI, has the authority to determine and decide the final commercial use of the nuclear power plant.

Construction of the $2.3 billion-BNPP began in 1976. By 1984, the facility was thought to be nearly complete.

“But due to some technical and political issues its operation and supposed utilization did not materialize,” the lawmaker’s camp said.