After being mothballed for 30 years, the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant is again under public speculations as the Department of Energy is reviving the possibility of the plant operating to suffice the energy supply of Luzon.
Following the Chernobyl incident in 1986, the use of Nuclear Power Plants as a source of electricity upsurges the suspicion and worries of the people on how efficient and safe these types of power plants could be. Same queries arise as a 9.10 magnitude earthquake hit Japan and severely damaged the area of Fukushima where a Nuclear Power Plant is also situated.
These suspicions from the Filipinos put the use of BNPP into a full immobilization and up to now, its operations are halted.
However, the scare that brought the Philippines into resorting to mainly coal-operated power plants is now ceasing as several people are giving light on the subject and slowly debunking the arguments that made the public raise their eyebrows on the activation of the said power plant.
One of the lead advocates of the full utilization of the BNPP, Former DepEd Usec. Butch Valdes on his radio program show “Katipunan”, presented several firm arguments that supports his campaign regarding the BNPP.
First is reactivation of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant will be of significant help to the fluctuating energy supply in the Luzon grid. The 620-megawatt capacity in Bataan can supply 10% of the power requirement of Luzon from the 8, 791 MW peak demand during the summer.
The BNPP also is more eco-friendly than coal-powered power plants. Nuclear Power Plant will only require 20 tons of fuel compared to 2. 55 million tons of coal needed to produce energy for 18 months.
On the issue of the safety, while the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant at Japan is easily reached by the tsunami, different scenario is expected to happen in the BNPP as it lies 18 meters above sea level compared to latter which only 5 meters. Our Power Plant also has 8 levels of safety features which assures that no major tragedies would happen.
BNPP is also more economical than Coal Power Plants. Aside from the fact that the cost of electricity will be cheaper, the capital needed for fueling the BNPP is only $20 million compared to the $102 million needed to buy 2, 550, 000 tons of coal. That’s a huge $80 million savings every 18 months.
Critics are raising the issue of the BNPP would requiring another billion of pesos at most to refurnish and make BNPP fully functional again, but these figures will seemed to be of small amounts when compared to the total savings the Philippines will get once the Power Plant is revived.
Mr. Valdes also reminded the Filipinos to dissociate the image of the Marcoses to the said project. The stigma of the dictator has put the power plant into a bad contrast, and people should start to view the BNPP as a seperate entity carrying multitude benefits and of minimal risks.
Human nature tells us to be resistant of changes. But without changes, progress and development will be hardly reached. And as a diligent member of the society, do your job. Read and research for yourself to personally weigh the issues at hand. Let’s be skeptical, lets be rational, and dont let pariahs delve into our ignorance. Make your stand and together, let’s Save the Nation. (Aljhon A. Amante)