The extreme temperatures brought by El Niño cause every household’s electricity bills to skyrocket. It seems that the Philippine government’s solution is to operate the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant to alleviate power outages and high energy consumption.
Reviving Bataan Nuclear Power Plant
The facility is the only nuclear power plant in the Philippines but didn’t produce any electricity due to safety concerns. It lies on a 3.57 km² government reservation at Napot Point located in Morong, Bataan.
Its construction began in the 1970s, during the reign of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr. The progress stopped in 1986 following the safety concerns over the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster on April 26 of the same year.
Due to insufficient supply and expensive electricity, the administration is eyeing the operation of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. As a matter of fact, it’s seeking possible nuclear reactor suppliers from the United States. Additionally, it’s regarding a few local manufacturers to support its planned industry.
“There are two things that could happen. One is we can order from them the reactor — either the small modular reactor or the micro modular reactor. They already have clients but they don’t have an actual plant that’s operating. But they have contracts,” said
Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual.
Pascual added that another feasibility was ensuing a manufacturing facility in the country. There are two likely business models the government is targeting – NuScale Power Corp. and Ultra Safe Nuclear Corp. They discussed possible investment during the president’s official visit to the White House between April 30 and May 4.
According to the trade secretary, NuScale already has a map of the areas in the country they considered safe locations. However, they didn’t have an actual decision in the meantime on which area the company will build if they proceed to construct it.
Ultra Safe, on the other hand, hopes to supply a micro modular reactor but is still in talks for possible locations. Likewise, it still depends on the reactor’s final specifications.
South Korean Companies Interested to Revive the Nuclear Power Plant
Many South Korean companies express their interest in the revival of the country’s only nuclear power plant. According to Trade Secretary Pascual, a collaboration between South Korean nuclear power plant operators and Bataan Nuclear Power Plant could be possible. He said that even though the government made no declaration of any plans for its revival, there are already talks about it.
South Korea acquires around 1/3 of its electricity from 25 small modular reactors (nuclear power reactors). This makes the country one of the world’s most distinguished nuclear energy countries.
Meanwhile, Denmark also offers its deployment of small modular reactor technology in the Philippines. This will help boost the country’s nuclear power sector. The huge difference between the Danish SMR technology from other countries is that theirs is sea-based instead of land-based.
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