Nuclear energy to worsen power, price woes, warn green activists, Catholic bishop

March 22, 2022

Greenpeace Philippines said the country’s policy to adopt nuclear energy is not a solution to any oil and energy crises and corresponding price hikes.

In a media briefing on March 18, the group said the huge costs of nuclear power will place a heavier burden on the economy and the environment, and on the health and finances of people.

“Nuclear power doesn’t provide any unique benefit that can’t be provided by other sources, and at the same time, it’s a source of unfathomable risk,” said senior nuclear expert Shaun Burnie.

Burnie presented how much nuclear power and nuclear waste management actually costs, and the common issues on nuclear waste and safety in power plants around the world.

“Countries that have pursued nuclear power are now seeing that they are ‘locked in’ to this unsustainable power source, and many are struggling to safely contain radioactive waste, and dismantle and decommission nuclear plants,” he said.

“The real picture is not as rosy as the industry would like us to believe,” said Burnie

Greenpeace campaigner Khevin Yu hit the Philippine government’s justifications for pursuing nuclear, saying these are “all based on false information.”

“Nuclear power is neither the ‘cheap’ nor ‘clean’ energy source the administration is claiming it to be,” he said.

“Aside from the huge costs of building and sustaining nuclear plants, Filipinos will have to contend with the still-unresolved issue of radioactive nuclear waste, and the damage it can cause to communities,” said Yu.

‘It also won’t lessen our dependence on imported fuel. Instead of easing our current struggles, any administration that takes this on is only going to make life worse for Filipinos,” he added.

Greenpeace has been demanding that President Rodrigo Duterte revoke his executive order that aims to develop the country’s nuclear energy as an option.

In a series of creative protests in Manila and Bataan last week, environmental activists demanded that the Department of Energy “stop peddling foreign nuclear energy interests.”

Derek Cabe, national coordinator of the Nuclear- and Coal-Free Bataan Movement, said the proposal to revive the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant is already worrying nearby communities.

Bishop Ruperto Santos of the Catholic diocese of Balanga has expressed strong opposition to proposals to rehabilitate the mothballed plant.

“They know very well the real situation and condition of BNPP,” said Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga. “It is sitting on a dormant volcano,” he said over Radio Veritas 846.

“Our future, or our future on energy, is not on BNPP,” he said. “It is danger and destruction,” he added.

In 2018, Bishop Santos said the issue of the revival of the mothballed BNPP should be put to “eternal rest.”

He said that reviving the BNPP is a waste of money as it will not be beneficial to the country, adding that it is “not functional, defective, and dangerous.”

Built during the years of martial law, the 620-megawatt BNPP in Morong, Bataan, was never activated following the Chernobyl disaster in Russia in 1986.

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