Saturday May 23, 2009
By Rimaliza Opiña
A LOOMING energy crisis is threatening to bring back the operation of the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).
A proposed measure, which is aimed at operating the power plant for commercial purposes, was submitted in Congress.
But just like the opposition it earned 35 years earlier, plans on reviving operation is beginning to earn resistance.
Very recently, the Nuclear Free Bataan Movement Network (NFBM-Net) launched a nationwide signature campaign opposing House Bill 4631.
The Youth for National Democracy is leading the campaign here in Baguio. Liza Gobrin, the group’s spokesperson said city residents should be involved in this project because allowing government to operate the power plant is an issue not only of the people of Bataan, but the whole country.
Having been left unused for more than 30 years, refurbishing the plant is estimated to cost US$1 billion. Facilities of the BNPP are said to be obsolete.
Gobrin said there are more important projects where the amount can be used.
Contrary to claims the country would be less dependent on fossil fuels, the NFBM-Net said nuclear power plants are costlier because the country would have to import uranium to make the reactors work.
“There are no logical reasons to revive the BNPP. The reasons for its rejection in the past still stand today,” the NFBM-Net said in a position paper.
Separately, Gobrin said there is a danger of the power plant to explode because it is located in a geologically hazardous area.
“The risks and danger posed by the BNPP to the public has not been dimmed by the passage of 35 years. The plant is riddled with defects from its cover design, construction, quality assurance, workmanship and project management. It sits on a geologically unsafe location and poses a very high risk to the lives and livelihood of underlying communities and provinces,” the NFBM-Net added.
Also, the NFBM-Net said the country does not have a technology to store or dispose nuclear waste. The only alternative is for the Department of Energy to explore all possibilities of maximizing the natural and renewable sources of energy such as solar, geothermal, wind, and hydro.