organizations, environmental groups slam DOE plan to revive Bataan
Nuclear Power Plant
November 14, 2016
QUEZON CITY – Civil
society organizations and environmental advocates expressed alarm at
the administration's plan to revive the mothballed Bataan Nuclear
Power Plant (BNPP).
Responding to Department of
Energy Alfonso Cusi's revelation of the president's green light for
the project, Sanlakas Secretary-General Atty. Aaron Pedrosa raised
problems of environmental safety and sustainability that attached to
reviving and maintaining nuclear power plants.
"The revival of the BNPP is
an environmental disaster waiting to happen," claimed Pedrosa. "A
nuclear plant, especially one in the Philippines, carries with it a
number of hazards whose effects could prove irreversible for a
developing country like ours."
"First and primary of these
effects are the inevitable nuclear waste produced by nuclear power
reactors," explained Pedrosa.
"This type of waste, being
radioactive, poses a threat to the biological integrity of the
environment in which it is emitted. Historically, we know the
unpredictability of both the degree and the length that effects of
harmful radiation have on those who are exposed to it," said Pedrosa.
"Moreover, given how a
nuclear power plant by itself proves to be dangerous, our geographical
location along a typhoon belt and the Ring of Fire threatens to
exponentially magnify the risks of reviving this nuclear plant," added
Center for Energy, Ecology,
and Development (CEED) Convenor Gerry Arances cited the case of
Fukushima I Power Plant in Fukushima, Japan, which on 2011 saw a
nuclear meltdown and release of harmful radioactive material after the
country was hit by a tsunami-triggered earthquake.
"The Philippines' sudden
move towards nuclear energy is baffling given how it is a country that
is less technologically equipped than but similarly vulnerable to
environmental disasters as Japan, a developed country which has
started to move away from nuclear power," said Arances.
Arances claimed that nuclear
energy poses more risks than it offers any energy or environmental
benefit, citing the country of Germany as another developed country
pulling the plug on nuclear energy shortly after the Fukushima
"It must serve as a warning
to the administration that even developed countries, which are more
capable than the Philippines in sustaining nuclear power plants and
mitigating the environmental risks that they pose, have started
phasing out nuclear energy," added Arances.
Arances also claimed that
pursuing nuclear energy is laden with faulty economics.
"For one, the direct costs
of operating, maintaining, and waste management that come with
sustaining a nuclear power plant have historically put a strain on the
national budget of countries with existing plants," said Arances.
Arances claimed that costs
of power plants are almost consistently more than that estimated by
the nuclear industry, causing the respective national governments
adopting nuclear power to let its nuclear power facilities heavily
rely on state subsidies and massive loans, as in the case of India and
"Nuclear power plants also
come with the risk of making the Philippines dependent on uranium-rich
countries for fuel," added Arances.
"Nuclear energy is a result
of heat generated through the fission process of atoms, which is
fueled by uranium, a resource abundant only in a number of countries.
To sustain the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant and other possible nuclear
power plants would be to depend on uranium-rich countries," Arances
Arances instead urged the
Duterte administration to turn towards indigenous renewable energy
sources instead of costly, deadly and dirty energy sources.
"Based on the DOE's
Philippine Energy Plan, the share of renewables in the country's
energy supply is set to plummet while reliance on dirty sources like
coal will increase until 2030," Arances pointed out. "A more
sustainable energy and development path would be pursued if we start
tapping into the vast renewable energy of the Philippines, amounting
to 200,000 MW of clean energy," he added.
condemned the revival of the BNPP despite the history of contentions
attached to the plant.
"The construction of the
BNPP, a result of the $2.3 billion loan secured by the late Dictator
Marcos, was greenlit in 1976 and finished in 1984 despite overwhelming
condemnation by local communities and civil society at the time," said
"Reviving the failed and
costly project is an affront not only to those who will suffer the
problems which it will cause, but an affront to those who have stood
up against it decades ago," stated Pedrosa.
"It was wrong to greenlight
it then; it is wrong to insist upon it now," he concluded.