Faith-based groups join calls to abandon Philippines’ nuclear power project

September 19, 2022

Faith-based and anti-nuclear power groups on Monday, September 19, called on the Philippine government to “totally abandon” the plan to revive the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.

“Let us end the delusion that a nuclear power project will solve the country’s energy crisis,” said Rodne Galicha, executive director of Living Laudato Si Philippines.

He said it was “an old ambition of the government in the 1970s.”

“Renewable energy is the now and the future,” said Galicha as Rep. Mark Cojuangco, chairperson of the House Special Committee on Nuclear Energy in Congress, called for the reopening of the nuclear plant.

Cojuangco said the project has potential valuable contributions in “addressing high price and low supply of electricity” in the country, adding that it is “the perfect opportunity to find the alternative source of energy.”

The nuclear plant in Bataan is a US$2.3 billion power project that began development in 1973 during the administration of the late president Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

It was projected to provide enough electricity to power the whole country but was closed and decommissioned due to issues of safety and corruption.

“Proposals to revive the BNPP should be opposed in favor of just and sustainable energy alternatives like community-based solar, wind, and hydroelectric power projects,” said Jon Bonifacio of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment.

Last week, Kalikasan PNE and other pro-environment groups relaunched the Network Opposed to Bataan Nuclear Power Plant Revival (NO to BNPP Revival), which was established in 2008.

The network aimed to gather support to put pressure on the Philippine government to abandon the revival of the project and “exert all efforts in the development of clean energy sources.”

Bonifacio said developed countries, such as Germany and Spain, are on track to “phasing out nuclear energy in favor of renewable energy.”

“If allowed to operate, the BNPP will pose a grave danger to Filipinos, not only those living in Bataan but also those in communities in a far larger radius surrounding the power plant,” he said.

Former president Rodrigo Duterte issued an executive order making nuclear power part of the country’s planned energy mix.

South Korea has already offered some US$1.1 billion to rehabilitate Bataan nuclear plant.

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