Marcos claims politics behind mothballed Bataan nuclear plant, echoes call for possible revival

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 25) — Presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos on Tuesday backed calls for the possible revival of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP), which he claimed was ordered shut purely for political reasons.

In a DZRH interview, Marcos said the country must work on improving its energy situation by exploring various sources — including nuclear power — to attract more investors.

For one, he said the BNPP — which was built during the administration of his father, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Sr. — may be worth looking into.

The $2.2-billion facility is the country's first and only nuclear power plant. However, in 1986, then president Corazon Aquino decided not to operate it due to corruption and safety concerns, compounded by fears after the Chernobyl nuclear fallout in Russia that same year.

But Marcos alleged Aquino mothballed the BNPP "not because of any scientific reason," but "for politics."

"We really have to look at nuclear power. Wag natin i-politika [Let's not politicize it]. Once again, follow the science," he said.

According to the former senator, Korea previously offered to help evaluate if the Bataan plant may still be used.

"Kaya't baka naman mapakinabangan pa natin 'yan," Marcos said. "Kung hindi, then maybe magtayo tayo ng iba," he added.

[Translation: So maybe, we can still use it. If not, then maybe we can build another one.]

In 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte issued an executive order that would look into the possible use of the BNPP. In 2018, Russian Ambassador Igor Khovaev told CNN Philippines that he believes the plant was beyond revival because of its "absolutely outdated" technology.