Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bataan nuclear plant survived Pinatubo

I AM JUST WONDERING WHY THERE WAS no objection at all from the people and local officials of Bataan, and even from the Church hierarchy, during the construction of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) from 1976 through 1984. There were some groups that complained about the project’s rigged bidding and overpricing, and the hazards its operation could pose, but nothing came out of their efforts.

At that time too, the US naval base in Subic, which was very near to the BNPP, was still open. Morong, where the plant is located, was partly occupied by the naval base. The US Naval authorities could have been the first to oppose the BNPP if they had seen it as an imminent danger to the naval base complex. The Unite States is known internationally to be very strict when it comes to the issuance of environmental clearance for its infrastructure, whether built at home or in foreign countries.

I know for a fact that the residents of Bataan greatly benefited from the BNPP’s construction; most of the workforce came from Bataan, and there was so much enthusiasm about how the plant would be of service to them and increase the power supply for Luzon.

Before the plant could operate, the Aquino administration mothballed it. With $2.3 billion of people’s money spent for the plant, it would be wise to revive the BNPP. But first it should be made to comply with all safety requirements and it should be certified safe by the International Atomic Energy Commission.

The plant suffered no serious damage when Mount Pinatubo erupted in 1991.Let us give Rep. Mark Cojuangco a chance to prove a very worthy project that our country needs to generate additional supply of electricity. I also believe that nuclear energy is still the safest to produce.

If the government cannot guarantee the safety of the nuclear plant, we might as well bury it in the sands of Bataan.

--By: Eliseo Reblando, MD – Inquirer

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