Yesterday, June 3, Mark Cojuangco was able to have his sponsorship on the BNPP BIll! He was allowed to dleiver his sponsorhip but the debate on the bill was deferred when Congress reconvenes its session in July.
Cojuangco’s sponsorship speech contains the same points he has been raising for months such as: 1) that nuclear power is the most economical, 2) that it is the safest energy option for the Philippines and 3) that eating a banana has more radiation compared to a nuclear plant !
He even accused oppositors, Greenpeace and like-minded groups, for "fear mongering" !
This morning (June 4), No to BNPP members joined a media forum organized by the Foundation for Sustainable Society, Inc. (FSSI) in time for the commemoration of the World Environment Day. Speakers in the forum are FSSI Executive Director Emma Lim-Sandrino, FDC vice president Etta Rosales, Engr. Obet Versola of the Philippine Greens, and Francis dela Cruz of Greenpeace. In the forum, the groups urged the Congress to junk House Bill 6300 and reiterated the following arguments:
There are too many faulty assumptions in Cojuangco’s speech to count. For one, the contraction of our economy suggests decreasing energy demand. As for cost, spending billions of dollars on upgrading and refurbishing an aging nuclear plant, importing uranium fuel, and hiring an army of foreign technicians to rehabilitate, commission, and operate it are not the things our economy needs right now.
In addition, even if rehabilitated, the BNPP will not pass the current international safety fundamentals required of nuclear facilities.
Before Congress can have an informed discussion of BNPP, there must be an independent feasibility study focusing on environment, health and safety, and costs. This appears in the consolidated HB 6300, but is buried deep in the bill. It is the only section of the bill which includes a specific appropriation of P100 million. No financial costs are listed elsewhere in the bill, leading NO to BNPP to argue that congress members are being asked to vote on a high risk project with uncertain costs.
Conflict of Interest
A feasibility study on BNPP rehabilitation should take into account the findings of earlier technical audits of the BNPP, such as the $9.5 million NES study conducted in 1990, and which so far, remains unavailable to the public. To avoid conflict of interest, the feasibility study should also be undertaken by an independent body or firm having no interest in bidding for the rehabilitation project. If Korea Electric Power Corp. (Kepco) is being considered as a bidder for the rehabilitation project, it should be disqualified from conducting the feasibility study.
The original version of the BNPP bill carried 185 co-authors. This is down to 125 in the current consolidated bill. In addition to the loss of 60 co-authors, there are other indications that the bill is losing steam. Department of Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes remarked to the media last month that it would take 15 years to build up the technical capacity to operate the plant, and that rehabilitating it would also need the support of all stakeholders, something it does not currently enjoy. In March, the Bataan Provincial Board passed a resolution unanimously rejecting the rehabilitation.