An official of the Department of Science and Technology–Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (DST-PNRI) on Monday rallied behind President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s plan to build nuclear power plants.
“Swak na swak ‘yung sinasabi po ng Presidente natin. Nagpapasalamatcdin ako dahil sinabi niya ‘yun (What our President said perfectlycfits. I am thankful to him for saying that),” PNRI director Carloc Arcilla said at a public briefing.
Arcilla said 60 percent of the power supply in the country comes from coal, adding that 70 percent of the power sources were unstable.
Most of the coal used for power production in the country came from Indonesia, he added.
Arcilla also said nuclear power was cheaper than coal power. For example, the amount of fuel that the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) would need was equivalent to filling a jeepney’s tank, but it would keep the jeep running for 18 months without emissions.
Coal plants, in contrast, need 50 Panamax ships of coal or 50,000 to 80,000 tons of coal to operate.
Importing this amount of coal would cost around $600 to $800 million, while nuclear fuel for 18 months is around $20 to $25 million.
“Ang kagandahan po sa nuclear, maliit lang po siya pero ang energy density niya ay napakataas (What is good about nuclear power is it is a small amount but its energy density is very high),” he said.
Arcilla was also confident that earthquakes would not damage nuclear power plants, as these would be built away from fault lines.
“May nagsasabi raw na dahil sa mga lindol huwag muna na magkaroon ng nuclear, mali po yun kasi bago magtayo ng power plant siguraduhin mo na walang fault,” he said.
He added that the BNPP was not damaged after the magnitude 7 earthquake that hit Abra on July 27.
Marcos, who was considering adopting nuclear energy as part of the country’s power mix, wants the government to rethink its strategy on nuclear energy.