Bringing Bataan Nuclear Power Plant to operation needs ‘social acceptance’

The fate of Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) rests on the opinion of the majority of Filipino people, House energy committee chair Oriental Mindoro Representative Rey Umali believes. He noted that bringing the BNPP in operating condition as a nuclear power plant may need at least $1 billion but social acceptance is more important.

“If the consensus is towards operating it, then so be it. If the consensus will be away from it, then so be it,” Umali said after a committee hearing on BNPP yesterday, September 14.

“We need to make a policy decision whether to run this or not. This is not to mention the cost but, more important, its social acceptance,” he added. His committee aims to craft a national policy on the future of BNPP before the current 16th Congress ends.

National Power Corp. (NPC) President Gladys Cruz-Sta. Rita said during the hearing that “the BNPP can be successfully rehabilitated at $1 billion for a period of 4 years.” She noted that a new nuclear power would cost $5 to $6 billion and could be completed in 10 years.

Meanwhile, Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) nuclear regulations division head Teofilo V. Leonin Jr. said before the rehabilitation can take place, a study to determine if the said nuclear power plant can be operated safely may take five years.