Energy dept pushing for re-opening of Bataan nuclear power plant

MANILA — The Department of Energy (DOE) is pushing for the revival of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) after President Rodrigo Duterte allowed Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi to study the possibility of re-opening it, with specific instructions to prioritize the security and safety of the public.

”I’d like the BNPP to really operate. The President has spoken and after he has spoken, I talked to him and made clarification. I asked clearance if I should proceed to work for its implementation and full operation,” Cusi said in his speech at the inauguration of two power plants in Batangas province Friday.

”We have to put a closure to the BNPP. It could not just be there standing and spending millions of pesos. It is either we use it or we re-use it for some other (purpose),” he said in an interview.

The energy chief estimated the rehabilitation of the facility to cost USD1 billion and to last from two to four years. If it is revived, it would be under the Philippine National Oil Company.

The rehabilitation of the plant would be a government-to-government collaboration or a build-operate-transfer agreement with the private sector, he said, adding that the power plant’s capacity could be reduced, depending on the recommendations of consultants.

Cusi further said that his department is still working on the roadmap for nuclear energy.

The energy department has since last year held public consultations on the possible re-opening of the BNPP.

The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, the country’s only nuclear facility, was fully commissioned in 1984. It was a project of former president Ferdinand Marcos, but had never produced power for the grid. Juzel Danganan/