Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi welcomed the signing of Executive Order No. 116 by President Rodrigo Duterte that will bring the Philippines closer to the realization of a nuclear energy program.
“The Department of Energy welcomes EO116 as a major step towards the realization of a Philippine nuclear energy program—one which would benefit our people by enhancing our energy supply levels and help shield our consumers from traditional power price volatilities,” Cusi said.
EO 116, signed by the president on July 24, provides for the creation of the Nuclear Energy Program Inter-Agency Committee to be chaired by the DOE, with the Department of Science and Technology as vice chair.
The inter-agency body is mandated to primarily conduct a study for the adoption of a national position on a Nuclear Energy Program.
Cusi said the government would work closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency and other experts to realize the inclusion of nuclear power in the country’s existing energy mix in the future.
“I believe that once we have successfully addressed infrastructure gaps as identified by the IAEA, and we have fulfilled all other necessary national requirements, our people and future generations will reap the economic benefits a nuclear energy program brings,” Cusi said.
Duterte, in the issuance of the EO, cited the need to revisit the country’s policy on nuclear energy and to determine its feasibility as a long-term option for power generation.
Aside from the DOE and the DOST, the other members of the inter-agency body are Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Finance, Department of Foreign Affairs, National Economic and Development Authority, National Power Corp., National Transmission Corp., Philippine Nuclear Research Institute and Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.
The EO 116 tasked the committee to conduct a pre-feasibility study to evaluate and assess the need for and viability of introducing nuclear power into the energy mix, taking into consideration economic, security and environmental implications and engagement of the public and relevant stakeholders.
It also called for the evaluation and formulation a national strategy to include a roadmap and timeline in the preparation of a NEP and measures to address infrastructure gaps and issues, and make appropriate recommendations thereon.
The committee will review the existing legal framework, study the viability of nuclear energy and recommend the necessary steps in the utilization of nuclear energy and existing facilities such as the mothballed 620-megawatt Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.