As Cusi revives plan to consider nuclear energy

Iris Gonzales - The Philippine Star

Manila, Philippines — It is time for the Philippines to consider utilizing nuclear power, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said yesterday.

“For the past several years, the DOE, through our Nuclear Energy Program Implementing Organization, has been working under the close guidance of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to assess the feasibility of safely and responsibly harnessing nuclear energy in the Philippines.

From where I sit, I believe it is high time for us to open ourselves to the idea. Considering the potential of safely utilizing nuclear energy for our power needs doesn’t mean that nuclear power plants will immediately come out of the woodwork. The entire process will take time, especially since we are still at the stage of addressing the infrastructure issues needed in developing a national nuclear power program,” Cusi said during the Alliance Global Group Sustainability Conference.

Cusi said the public is also keen on the idea of tapping nuclear energy. 

In a survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) commissioned by the DOE to gauge national public perception on nuclear energy , respondents said nuclear energy possess both benefits and risks. 

“An approval rating of 79 percent on the possible use and rehabilitation of the Bataan nuclear plant and a 65 percent approval rating on building a new nuclear plant are positive indicators on the acceptability of nuclear energy,” Cusi said.

“With such a positive turnout, I feel that the time is ripe for intensified and informed public discussions on nuclear energy and its potential role in our energy security agenda,” Cusi added.

More than nuclear energy, however, Cusi  trumpeted the country’s renewable energy initiatives. 

“Among the various RE policies we have been relentlessly pursuing are  the Renewable Portfolio Standards, a supply-side policy which will mandate distribution utilities to source a minimum portion of energy from renewable sources, thus, guaranteeing a market for renewable energy generators. This minimum will be increased on a yearly basis by at least one percent,” he said.

Another policy is the Green Energy Option Program, a demand-side policy that will empower consumers to insist that the energy they consume is sourced from renewable resources. 

Once fully implemented, it will open new opportunities to promote the Philippines as an investment destination for environment-first manufacturing – where an entire supply chain can be powered by renewable energy, Cusi said.

Another policy is the proposed Green Energy Pricing Program, which would augment RE capacity in the grid. 

Cusi said the Philippines needs diverse and dependable energy resources. 

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