DOE lauds signing of EO on possible use of nuclear energy in PHL

The Department of Energy (DOE) has lauded the signing of Executive Order 116 that will kick off study on the viability of including nuclear power in the country’s energy mix.

In a statement Wednesday, DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi said its signing by President Rodrigo Duterte last July 24 is a “major step towards the realization of a Philippine nuclear energy program”.

“The Department of Energy welcomes EO 116 as a major step towards the realization of a Philippine nuclear energy program — one which would benefit our people by enhancing our energy supply levels and help shield our consumers from traditional power price volatilities,” Cusi said.

The EO orders the creation of the Nuclear Energy Program Inter-Agency Committee (NEP-IAC) that will be chaired by DOE and the Department of Science and Technology as its vice chair.

Under the new EO, the NEP-IAC shall conduct a pre-feasibility study evaluating and assessing the need for introducing nuclear power in the country’s energy mix.

The NEP-IAC is also ordered to review the existing legal framework, study the viability of nuclear energy, and recommend necessary steps in the use of nuclear energy including, but not limited to, Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).

“I believe that once we have successfully addressed infrastructure gaps as identified by the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), and we have fulfilled all other necessary national requirements, our people and future generations will reap the economic benefits a nuclear energy program brings,” the DOE chief added.

The NEP-IAC is expected to submit its initial report of the study by January 2021.

During the 5th Annual Global Conference on Energy Efficiency of Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA), Cusi said it is high time for the Philippines to be open to the idea of utilizing nuclear power.

“Nuclear power is a reliable alternative to attain energy sufficiency and meet future power demands,” he earlier said.

Cusi said public perception of nuclear energy has been changing, adding Filipinos are now aware that nuclear energy possesses both benefits and risks.