A Philippine nuclear research official on Tuesday said the country is open to dialogs with other nations pertaining to the acquisition of power facilities even as talks on the issue were underway with the United States.
Philippine Nuclear Research Institute executive director Carlo Arcilla indicated that other options were on the table.
It was announced during last week’s visit to Manila of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris that the so- called “123 agreement” between Manila and Washington might provide the legal basis for the export of American nuclear equipment to the Philippines.
Arcilla said the ongoing bilateral talks “does not lock us into the American negotiation policy.”
“Bukas pa din tayo sa ibang bansa,” he added.
He said South Korea has also offered to help the Philippines attain nuclear power capability.
“‘Yung South Korea, mayroon silang exact model ng planta natin na tumatakbo din ng halos 40 anyos,” Arcilla said.
He pointed out that South Korea could make a nuclear power plant operational within five years.
“That is the fastest way for the Philippines to have nuclear power with 620 megawatts capacity which usually takes eight to 10 years to accomplish.
France, China, and Japan were also known users of nuclear energy and may provide assistance to the Philippines should President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. decide to pursue the power option, Arcilla said.
“Yung pinakaimportante diyan ay South Korea kasi… siya ang active at isa sa mga bansang bagong nakapagpagawa ng nuclear plants… Nag-offer din sila sa Pilipinas na buhayin ang BNPP,” he said.
“Nagpahiwatig na ang South Korea na makipag-deal sa atin… Ang desisyon pong iyan ay manggagaling sa Presidente,” he said.
While other countries may open nuclear discussions with the Philippines, Arcilla asserted that the United States and its “123 agreement” was still crucial to the development of nuclear technology in the country.
“Kung wala ito, hindi makakapag-export sa Pilipinas yung mga kumpanya ng Amerika na marunong sa nuclear technology or yung mga consultant, mga expert na puwede nating gawing consultant,” he said.
“Ang Amerika po ang pinaka-experienced na bansa pagdating sa nuclear power. Mayroon silang 92 working nuclear power plants, average age 60 years, so sila ang may pinakamaraming nuclear plant sa buong mundo,” he said.
Earlier this year, Marcos said he wants to see if the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant could still be revived to address the country’s power supply shortage.