Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (From Bataan Nuclear Power Plant Facebook)

Before authorities decide on the reopening of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, President Rodrigo Duterte said residents of the province should be consulted first.

Duterte recently spoke with Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and former Pangasinan Rep. Mark Cojuangco, who heads a group advocating the use of nuclear power as a source of renewable energy.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte wanted the Bataan plant revival to “start from the ground.”

“Ibalik sa ground level, tatanungin ang taumbayan ng Bataan kung ano ba talagang gusto nila. Hindi pupuwede na sa taas nanggagaling ang desisyon,” he said when asked about Duterte’s stance on the eyed plant reopening.

On July 24, Duterte ordered the formation of a panel to assess the viability of introducing nuclear power into the country’s energy mix.

The Nuclear Energy Program Inter-Agency Committee (NEP-IAC) was chaired and co-chaired by the heads of the Department of Energy and Department of Science and Technology, respectively.

The NEP-IAC was given until January 2021 to submit an initial report to Duterte’s office.

The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, which cost more than $2 million, was the country’s only nuclear power plant.

Completed under the Marcos regime, it was never fueled nor used due to safety concerns. After Marcos was overthrown and in the wake of the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster, the succeeding administration of President Corazon Aquino mothballed the Bataan plant. John Ezekiel J. Hirro