PHL urged to junk nuke plant revival
THE government has been warned against reviving the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) in light of the nuclear emergency in Japan, triggered by the 8.9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that hit the wealthy Asian country on Friday.
Rep. Walden Bello of Akbayan party-list made the warning on Saturday, citing that nuclear plant malfunctions and possible radioactive leak in Fukushima prefecture in Japan prompted Japanese authorities to evacuate residents living within 2 kilometers of the facilities.
“For the proponents of nuclear energy in Congress, this should serve as a lesson. Nuclear energy remains to be extremely unsafe, especially for countries like Japan and the Philippines that experience earthquakes and volcanic eruptions periodically,” Bello pointed out.
In the Fourteenth Congress, Bello blocked the efforts of former Rep. Mark Cojuangco of the Fifth District of Pangasinan to rehabilitate the power plant.
In the Fifteenth Congress, Cojuangco’s wife, Rep. Kimi of Pangasinan filed House Bill 1291, or the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant Act of 2010 which she said would address the country’s electricity generating capacity shortfall by 2012 and the worsening problem of global warming because of carbon emissions.
Under Cojuangco’s measure, the National Power Corp. is mandated and authorized to undertake the immediate validation of the power plant under the supervision of the Department of Energy.
Moreover, House Bill 1291 will allow the power plant to operate for 40 years from the date of its commercial operation, which can be extended provided that the extended operational lifetime will not exceed 20 years per extension.
The BNPP, Bello underscored, is situated on the worst possible geographic location, which is at the foot of a volcano named MountNatib, with fault lines running in the vicinity. The power plant also sits across the Manila Bay.
The Marcos-era power plant was also decommissioned because of faulty engineering. A study commissioned by the Senate ad hoc committee on the power plant and the Presidential Commission on the Philippine Nuclear Power Plant during the administration of the late President Corazon Aquino found some 40,000 defects with the power plant, prompting James Keppler, one of the leaders of the review to comment that the team found “pervasive and significant” defects in the plant’s design, construction, quality assurance and start-up testing.
“The nuclear emergency is taking place in the very country [Japan] that has engineered the best technology to keep nuclear power plant facilities as earthquake-proof as possible. The BNPP on the other hand, suffers faulty geographic and engineering foundations. Should an operational BNPP be put in a similar situation, the disaster would be simply unimaginable,” Bello stressed.
Bello recounted that in his previous plenary debates in the past Congress, former congressman Mark Cojuangco saying that he and his wife would even sleep beside the power plant to prove the point that nuclear energy technology is safe.
“With Japan’s nuclear emergency, I don’t think any reasonable person would volunteer to do that at this point. The logical thing to do at this point is to abandon all efforts to revive the BNPP,” Bello argued.
“The disastrous consequences of nuclear energy, especially as proven by the Japanese experience, are certainly not worth its supposed benefits,” Bello added.
The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip on March 14th 2011