Energy chief receives official report of Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review Mission

The Department of Energy (DOE), led by Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi on October 29 received the Official Phase 1 Mission Report of the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) Mission during the Hand-over Ceremony held at the F1 Hotel Manila in Bonifacio Global City. 

“With energy security at the cornerstone of our country’s energy agenda, we need to bring to the forefront, intelligent, informed, and comprehensive dialogue on whether we could safely utilize nuclear power as one of our alternative sources to meet our ever-growing energy requirements. For the past three years, we have been working hand in hand with the International Atomic Energy Agency to find clear answers to all our longstanding questions on nuclear power, most especially its safety aspect,” Secretary Cusi emphasized in his acceptance remarks. 

INIR Missions are conducted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to assist its Member-States in evaluating the status of the 19 infrastructure requirements, to determine the possibility of introducing a safe, secure, and sustainable national nuclear program. Upon the directive of Energy Secretary Cusi, the DOE-Nuclear Energy Program Implementing Organization (NEPIO) was created in October 2016, in compliance with IAEA policy guidelines, to spearhead unified and coordinated efforts and activities relative to the conduct of various studies and research on the feasibility of nuclear energy development in the Philippines. 

On 10 December 2018, the INIR Mission Phase 1 was conducted in Manila, where the DOE presented its Self-Evaluation Report, which outlined progress made relative to the 19 nuclear infrastructure requirement issues identified by the IAEA in their Milestones Approach, a comprehensive and systemic guide for countries considering the introduction of nuclear power. 

The Philippines would need to address and satisfy the 19 infrastructure requirements before it would be able to successfully embark on a full nuclear energy program. 

The first of three, the Phase 1 INIR Mission Report contains the IAEA’s initial findings on the country’s existing good practices, undertaken improvements, as well as the Agency’s recommendations and suggestions for the DOE-NEPIO’s preparation of the Integrated Work Plan (IWP). The IWP will answer all IAEA concerns should the government decide to pursue the utilization of nuclear power as a potential source of energy for the country. The IWP Meeting between the IAEA and the DOE-NEPIO, to be led by its Vice Chairperson, Assistant Secretary Erguiza, with the assistance of some PNRI officials, is scheduled to take place on 12-15 November in Vienna, Austria.

DOE-NEPIO Chairperson, Undersecretary Donato D. Marcos, delivered the welcome remarks in today’s event, while Philippine Ambassador to Vienna Cleofe R. Natividad, IAEA Deputy Director-General Mikhail Chudakov, and former Congressman Mark O. Cojuangco gave brief messages. 

Also present in the Hand-Over Ceremony were IAEA Nuclear Infrastructure Development Section Head Milko Kovachev; members of the DOE-NEPIO; DOE officials and personnel; Philippine Nuclear Research Institute Director, Dr. Carlos P. Arcilla; and representatives from the Department of Science and Technology, Department of Education, and the National Economic and Development Authority. DOE