Malacañang is expected to release shortly an executive order adopting the national position on nuclear technology that will pave the way for its inclusion in the power mix, energy officials said Wednesday.
“We are looking to ensure energy security. This administration has been pushing for nuclear. The President has signed EO that will include nuclear program for our energy development,” Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay virtual forum.
“I don’t like to preempt things, but I believe we have the EO for that,” Cusi said.
The Department of Energy submitted to the Office of the President the results of the inter-government agency’s study on the adoption of a national position on a nuclear energy program in December 2020.
“We heard that the President will make an announcement soon. We heard from the Office of the President that the policy is going to be approved soon,” Undersecretary Gerardo Erguiza Jr. said in a separate briefing.
Erguiza said the study was submitted more than a year ago, and “we heard that this might be favorably endorsed through an executive order,” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order No. 116 on July 24, 2020 providing for the creation of the Nuclear Energy Program Inter-Agency Committee chaired by DOE to conduct the study.
The committee was tasked to submit its recommendation on a national position on nuclear energy to the Office of the President.
Cusi is also pushing for the use of small modular reactors and is set sign a government-to-government cooperation agreement in the US on nuclear power development this month.
He said Palawan, Cagayan and Sulu expressed willingness to host small modular reactors. “This will be a legacy of this admin,” he said.
SMRs are advanced nuclear reactors that have a power capacity of up to 300 MW per unit, or about a third of the generating capacity of traditional nuclear power reactors.
Cusi earlier said SMRs are a “game changer in the global energy landscape, as they could be utilized in locations that are not suitable for large nuclear power plants.
He also urged the public to be open to nuclear energy to help the country attain energy security and sustainability goals.
“I continue my call on my countrymen to open themselves to the idea. Considering the potential of safely utilizing nuclear energy for the country’s power needs doesn’t mean that nuclear power plants will immediately come out of the woodwork,” Cusi said.
“I believe that the time is ripe for us to embark on a full national nuclear energy program,” the energy chief said.