The Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Islands, one of the oldest business organizations, is asking the government to adopt nuclear power and revive the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.
Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines president Jose Luis Yulo Jr. said the revival of nuclear energy would help create more jobs and reduce the country’s electricity cost.
The group said 31 nuclear power plants were now operating globally while 65 power plants were under construction.
“Vietnam is presently constructing two plants while other countries in East and South Asia are looking into nuclear plants as an additional source of energy. In Asean, the Philippines, from being number one is now number five in per capita income. Without nuclear, Vietnam and other Asian/Asean countries will overtake us,” the group said.
The group urged the government to look at other plants similar to the mothballed 620-MW Bataan Nuclear Power Plant that were operating safely in Korea, Slovenia and Brazil for over 30 years.
It said the Bataan site was located on high ground and could not be reached by tsunami.
“The mothballed BNPP since 1984 can add over 600 megawatts of electric power to the Philippines grid when made operational,” it said.
Nuclear advocates were vouching for the use of nuclear power, saying it was the cleanest, cheapest, safest and best option to create energy.
“The chamber supports the operation of the nuclear power plant in Bataan to accelerate the economic progress of the country through industrialization,” the group said.
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi earlier said he expected a clearer direction on the steps to take to repower the Bataan nuclear plant by the end of the year. The department already started the study for the facility.
“I think by the end of the year we should know already the steps on what to do and everything. We have started the study,” Cusi said.
The energy chief said the department would also invite energy experts from other countries to discuss their proposals on the Bataan nuclear facility, which government shut down in late 1980s due to safety concerns.
“We are inviting experts from different countries to submit up to January or February,” Cusi said.
The department is eyeing nuclear experts from China, Japan, Korea and Slovenia .
Cusi said the Philippines lacked competent nuclear experts.
“We cannot just open a nuclear plant. For us to be able to follow that, we need people that are knowledgeable,” he said.
The government will need about $1 billion to repower the Bataan plant based on previous studies conducted.