Duterte signs EO outlining national policy on nuclear energy

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 3) — President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an executive order establishing a nuclear energy program in a bid to tap more sources for the country’s power generation.

Executive Order 164, signed on Feb. 28 but only publicized Thursday, adopts the national position for a nuclear energy program (NEP).

The order says the NEP is a "process that starts with the inclusion of nuclear power in the energy mix based on a prefeasibility study on the need for and viability of nuclear power."

It also includes the development of nuclear power infrastructure, along with the planning and construction of operational, commercial, and post-operational stages of nuclear power plants.

Duterte likewise tasked the Nuclear Energy Program Inter-Agency Committee to conduct further studies and make recommendations, if necessary, on the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant’s use and viability along with the creation of other nuclear energy facilities.

Ang bago, walang problema pero ang BNPP andyan na yan, sa energy security makakatulong 'yan. Safety, sabi nila, we have to validate that. We’ll go through that study again. Cost, pag ni-rehab ba competitive ba sa cost o magiging mahal din ang labas, mas mura ang bago?” said Department of Energy Usec. Gerardo Erguiza and NEIP-IAC in a virtual briefing.

[Translation: We have no problem with new ones but the BNPP is there, it can help with energy security. Regarding safety, they said we have to validate that. We’ll go through that study again. On cost, will it be competitive if we will rehabilitate it or would it be cheaper to build a new facility]

The mothballed BNPP is the country’ first and sole nuclear power plant which was created during the administration of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. However, succeeding chief executive Cory Aquino did away with operating it, citing corruption and safety concerns.

Erguiza also admitted that the earliest the country could adopt nuclear energy could be 2027. He said this is because the legal framework, including the many safeguards and the identification of an agency regulating nuclear power, is still being prepared.

CNN Philippines correspondent Melissa Lopez contributed to this report.