Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the inclusion of nuclear energy in the country’s power generation mix.
Duterte signed an executive order committing the Philippines to develop a nuclear energy program as a national policy, Xinhua news agency quoted the presidential office as saying in a statement.
The program includes the development of nuclear power infrastructure and encompasses the planning and construction, operational, commercial, and post-operation stages of nuclear power plants.
The order says the state “will ensure the peaceful use of nuclear technology anchored on critical tenets of public safety, national security, energy self-sufficiency, and environmental sustainability”.
An inter-agency nuclear energy programme committee study on the viability of nuclear power projects the country’s demand for a clean energy pathway to grow by 4.4 per cent a year, requiring almost 68 gigawatts of additional capacity by 2040.
“Considering this demand and the depletion of natural gas resources, nuclear power will play an important role to contribute to the required capacity to achieve energy security, especially to meet the needs of an emerging upper-middle-income country,” the order says.
In July 2020, Duterte ordered the creation of the inter-agency body that was tasked to review the existing legal framework, study the viability of nuclear energy, and recommend the necessary steps in utilising nuclear energy and existing facilities, particularly the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).
Financed by loans, the construction of the BNPP began in 1976 during the administration of Ferdinand Marcos.
But the plant on the Bataan Peninsula, 100 km west of Manila, was never fuelled after its completion in 1984.