Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Sunday, June 24, 2007

With its debts paid, BNPP open as site for alternative power plant

Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla said the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) is available as a site for a new power plant as the government finally finished paying off the loans for its construction.

“It is available as a site for anyone who wants to put up a plant using alternative fuel and so on, but we have no proposal,” Lotilla told reporters at the sidelines of a seminar-workshop on nuclear power at the Traders Hotel in Pasay City.

Reports said the final payment of $15 million was settled in April, after 32 years.

Meanwhile, Dr. Renato Solidum, director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), clarified on Saturday that there were no active fault lines near the BNPP as some critics claimed.

“There is no active fault in the area and, whenever there is ground-shaking, you have engineering designs to solve the issue,” Solidum said.

It has been repeatedly said that the BNPP, located at Napot Point in Morong, Bataan, stands near major earthquake fault lines and is surrounded by several active volcanoes – including Mt. Pinatubo in Zambales – making it hazardous to the people and the environment.

Lotilla said the problem was one of political dimensions, not technical or scientific issues.

“Japan has more earthquakes than the Philippines, yet it has 54 nuclear reactors supplying 34 percent of Japanese energy requirements,” former energy minister Geronimo Velasco wrote in his book “Trailblazing – A Quest for Energy Self-Reliance.” “Although there have been several nuclear plant accidents, including one in August 2004 at Fukui prefecture’s Mihama plant that caused the death of four people, none of these accidents was due to an earthquake,” he said.

Lotilla, however, reiterated that there is a need for the country to first develop a group of scientists and experts who will man nuclear power plants before any plan to build such power plants can be put into motion.

“First we have to develop the people so that it becomes an informed decision,” he said. “We are preparing the nation, but part of that process of preparing is developing a corps of scientists and experts who will advise us on what the options are.”

Lotilla earlier said that given the strict requirements of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it would be far more expensive to rehabilitate the BNPP than to build a new nuclear power plant.

When former President Ferdinand Marcos was overthrown in February 1986, a team of international inspectors visited the BNPP site and declared it unsafe and inoperable because it was built near major earthquake fault lines and close to the then dormant Mt. Pinatubo.

Debt payments for the mothballed nuclear plant became the country’s biggest single obligation.

Reports said successive administrations have looked for ways to convert the plant into an oil-, coal- or gas-fired power plant, but found the cost too expensive. The plant itself has been maintained despite the fact that it was never operational.

The BNPP has a Westinghouse light water reactor and was designed to generate 621 megawatts of electricity.
By HELEN FLORES - The Philippine Star



Post a Comment

<< Home


This is a joint private blog of volunteers from Subic Bay. It is being maintained primarily to collate articles that may be of importance to decision making related to the future of Subic Bay and as a source of reference material to construct the history of Subic Bay.

The articles herein posted remains the sole property of original authors and publications which has full credits to the articles.

Disclaimer: Readers should conduct their own research and due diligence before using any article herein posted for whatever intended purpose it may be. This private web log will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by a reader's reliance on information obtained from volunteers of this private blog.

www.subicbay.ph, http://olongapo-subic.com, http://sangunian.com, http://olongapo-ph.com, http://oictv.com, http://brgy-ph.com, http://subicbay-news.com, http://batanggapo.com 16 January 2012