Duterte wants dialogue with Bataan residents over nuclear power plant revival
This December 19, 2011 photo from Wikimedia Commons shows Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.
Jiru27 / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)
Duterte wants dialogue with Bataan residents over nuclear power plant revival
Christian Deiparine (Philstar.com) - October 1, 2020 - 5:50pm

MANILA, Philippines — The government is seeking a dialogue with residents of Bataan over plans to revive the country's sole nuclear power plant found in the province, a top government spokesman said Thursday. 

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said at a press briefing that President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered public consultations held to see if locals would approve of the move.

"The president said that this move needs to be studied carefully and discussions should return to the ground level," he said in Filipino. "Residents of Bataan will be consulted on the matter."

Duterte's pronouncement came after he met with Environment Secretary Alfonso Cusi and businessman Mark Cojuangco, a former congressman for Pangasinan. 

The nuclear power plant was built during the time of ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos but  the facility was never because of safety concerns raised by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. 

There has been a long-running debate on possibility of reviving the power plant and the option is brought up at least once a year.

In July of this year, Duterte signed Executive Order No. 116 that created an interagency committee tasked to study the feasibility of using nuclear energy as a power source. 

The departments of energy, science and technology, finance and foreign affairs to name a few are part of the said body that is required by the order to turn in an initial report to Duterte by January 2021.

Greenpeace Philippines and other environment groups have said that opting for nuclear energy will cost the country more, citing the need for sourcing fuel, expertise and technologies that would have to be sourced from abroad. 

"That's aside from the huge cost of dealing with the inherent safety risks and disasters associated with nuclear power plants," the group's campaigner Khevin Yu said back in May.

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