House Bill 4631 proposing to commission the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) for commercial use is before Congress today. This is the very same BNPP built thirty-five years ago, was proven to be riddled with defects, steeped in corruption and anomaly and shut down in 1986 due to overwhelming public opposition.
Reviving the BNPP would be a grave disservice to the public at large especially since the claims of the proponents belie the truth:
ŸNot a Solution to the Power Crisis
We see no reason to revive the BNPP when data from the Department of Energy show that we are currently generating 4,212 MW in excess of what we need. Also, renewable sources of energy from geothermal, wind and hydro resources have yet to be exhausted. Why make the public pay more for a superfluous and undesirable energy source?
ŸMore Expensive than Fossil-based plants.
The idea that nuclear energy is ‘too cheap to meter’ has been proven a fallacy since the first nuclear plant was built. In reality, nuclear power plants end up costlier to maintain and we may find ourselves replacing oil dependency with uranium dependency as we would need to import uranium in order to make our reactors work.
The sheer size of the project makes it vulnerable for corruption and shady deals. Just like the first BNPP deal which was valued at USD 600 Million but ballooned to USD 2.3 Billion, the estimated USD 1 Billion may balloon when the refurbishing is underway.
There are no logical reasons to revive the BNPP, in fact, the reasons for its rejection in the past still stand today.
The BNPP is:
UNSAFE and DEADLY
The risks and danger posed by the BNPP to the public has not been dimmed by the passage of 35 years. The plant in question 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.
Also, there is yet to be any effective technology to store or dispose nuclear waste.
ANOMALOUS AND BURDENSOME
For more than 30 years, debts from the BNPP made up 20% of the budget for debt servicing.It was the Filipino people who paid the price for the bad deal made. A 2004 estimate puts the price the public had to pay for the behest loans incurred with the BNPP at US$155,000 per day.
The price tag for reviving the BNPP is US$1 billion.This amount will most likely take the form of loans that would be shouldered, again, by the public, and most likely, will also be prone to corruption.
The BNPP is neither for the public good or gain. With a nuclear plant such as the BNPP in our midst, the public would be in a perpetual state of insecurity.
The only logical alternative is to build the broadest possible network of anti-BNPP veterans and advocates who will come together to oppose the resuscitation of the BNPP.We have to defend the victory of the Nuclear-Free Bataan Movement and the Filipino people in shutting down the BNPP.We can’t allow the comeback of the “Monster of Morong “.
The Nuclear-Free Bataan Movement Network (NFBM-Net)
The NFBM-Net stemmed from the Nuclear-Free Bataan Movement (NFBM).Composed of people’s organizations, groups and individuals of Bataan and supported by national and international networks, the NFBM was at the forefront of the Filipino people’s struggle to oppose the operation of the BNPP.At the height of the anti-BNPP campaign in the 80’s, the NFBM led the successful ‘welgang bayan’ in December ’84 and June ’85 in Bataan.This finally led to the closedown of the BNPP in 1986.
Now, with moves to revive the BNPP, we are in another defining moment. The NFBM, with the anti-BNPP veterans at its core, has again taken the challenge to lead the anti-BNPP people’s struggle.They will need the support of the broadest to again foil the sinister plot to release the ‘Monster of Morong’, seal its coffin and bury it forever. Thus,the formation of the NFBM-Net.
The NFBM-Net is a loose network of organizations, institutions, groups and individuals united on the basis of working together to achieve the immediate rejection and scrapping of HB 4631 and all moves to revive the BNPP.
The NFBM-Net reaches out to and encourages the participation of the broadest number of people who are willing to work on a tactical campaign and struggle to put up the strongest possible pressure to shut down the BNPP once and for all.
The campaign will depend on independent but coordinated initiatives and active support of all NFBM-Net participants in their capacity as convenors or as participating groups and individuals.NFBM-Net respects and recognizes that member groups and individuals have their own contributions, capabilities, resources and initiatives in different forms and protests against the BNPP.
The NFBM-Net is led by a group of convenors.The number of convenors increases relative to the breadth and depth of the network.
The group of convenors is assisted at the national level by the national secretariat. For purposes of grassroots reach and widest possible coverage and coordination, it is proposed that NFBM-Net be organized at the territorial level i.e., NFBM-Central Luzon Network, NFBM-Visayas Network, etc. and at the sectoral level - NFBM-Youth Network, NFBM-Teachers Network, etc.Local secretariats at the level of respective territories will likewise be formed.
Participating organizations/individuals are encouraged to initiate activities in their areas and to coordinate these with the secretariat for purposes like the presence of convenors and spokespersons and education/information materials.
The NFBM-Net will work on particular areas of concern such as:
Massive information dissemination – education and propaganda campaigning on BNPP:
Conduct forum and symposia;
Develop moduleswhich are given to interested parties especially schools, parishes and other institutions which have the capacity to reach a broader audience directly;
Conduct assemblies and meetings and other information dissemination activities at the grassroots level;
Conduct education and propaganda activities at the grassroots level – in schools, workplaces, communities, local parishes,etc. and create a speakers’ pool for such purposes;
Develop popular and creative forms of information dissemination
Popular actions and solidarity building:
Launch actions/mobilizations and call on the participation of the broadest number of people in these activities;
Popular actions and mobilizations will be in the form of street rallies/demonstrations, Congress/Senate lobbying and other forms that may either be indoor or outdoor;
Link up with other local, national and international networks and organizations;
On the basis of the campaign, establish working and cooperative relations and conduct coordinated campaigns or joint projects.
Hon. Among Ed PanlilioMsgr. Antonio DumaoalAtty. Dante Ilaya
Governor of PampangaChairperson, NFBMCo-Chairperson, NFBM
Pete PinlacMost Rev. Florentino Lavarias, D.D
Chairperson, KPDBishop, Diocese of Zambales
Max de MesaHon. Oscar Rodriguez
Convenor, CCHRMayor, City of San Fernando-Pampanga