The Energy Department is mulling over other options for the mothballed 620-megawatt Bataan Nuclear Power Plant as a bomb shelter, hotel, library or data center, if repowering the facility is no longer feasible.
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said the government had to find “closure” on BNPP which had not operated for over 30 years.
“If we will no longer use it, what are the possible options? We can use it as a bomb shelter, may be a library, hotel, data center,” Cusi said.
The nuclear facility was mothballed in 1986 on safety concerns as the power plant reportedly sits on a fault line.
“I am not saying that Bataan is out definitely, but we have to put a closure to Bataan. As the authority, we have to put a closure to it,” Cusi said.
“Are we going to proceed and make it a nuclear power plant? If we are not going to operate it as a nuclear power plant, then what are we going to do with the structure? What are we going to do with the property?” he said.
Cusi said the Philippines would have achieved greater economic strides if the power plant had started operating.
“If the plant was running at that time, our energy landscape and probably our economic landscape will not be like this. We will be better than our neighbors because electricity is a very important factor in a country’s development,” he said.
Cusi said some sectors were supportive of nuclear energy, as long as it would not involved the Bataan nuclear facility.
“We understand that a lot of people are already favoring nuclear. So, DOE as a policy body, is looking at what should be our direction,” the energy chief said.
He said the Philippines might also pursue modular nuclear facilities but it needed to start with the “acceptance of the community.”
Cusi said international experts from Russia and Slovenia were studying the power plant and possible options.
“But there are still no recommendations, although their observations are the same as ours that the structure is good,” he said.