House appropriations body okays Comprehensive Nuclear Law

Taking the key piece of legislation for nuclear regulations one step closer to enactment, the bill for the Comprehensive Nuclear Law was recently approved before the House Committee on Appropriations.

The bill hurdled through the appropriations committee at the House of Representatives during its meeting on August 28.

Otherwise known as the Comprehensive Nuclear Regulation Act, the bill is entitled “An Act Providing for a Comprehensive Nuclear Regulatory Framework, Creating for the Purpose, the Philippine Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Appropriating Funds Therefore,” consolidating seven similar bills filed in the House of Representatives. 

It pushes for the creation of a unified independent regulatory body consistent with international standards for the regulation of all practices and facilities involving sources of ionizing radiation, including nuclear and other radioactive materials, facilities and radiation generating equipment.

Its current incarnation in the House was previously consolidated from several other bills into a substitute bill in November 2017, with Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as one of its sponsors.

It is currently under Committee Report Preparation in the House of Representatives which is due for filing within the month.

In the Senate, a counterpart bill for the nuclear law has been filed by Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III.

Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato De La Peña and Philippine Nuclear Research Institute Director Dr. Carlo Arcilla were present during the committee meeting, along with other officials and staff from the Department of Science and Technology and PNRI.

Currently, the Philippines has two regulatory bodies dealing with ionizing radiation: the PNRI under DOST which regulates nuclear and radioactive materials; and the Center for Device Regulation, Radiation Health, and Research under the Food and Drug Administration of the Department of Health, which regulates x-rays and devices producing electrically-generated radiation.

According to PNRI’s Eulinia M. Valdezco, president of the Philippine Association for Radiation Protection, three laws exist on nuclear power but do not cover nuclear plant decommissioning: Republic Act 2067 (The Science Act of 1958); RA 5207 (Atomic Energy Regulatory and Liability Act of 1968); and Presidential Decree 1586 (Philippine EIS System Law).

Senate President Vicente Sotto III filed a counterpart measure in the upper chamber, Senate Bill No. 1352, on Feb. 27, 2017. It is one of two bills, the other being SBN 1959, that are pending in the Senate Committee on Science and Technology.

Topics: nuclear regulation , Comprehensive Nuclear Law , House of Representatives , Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
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