Bataan, Philippines – The country’s first nuclear power plant has been completed but never fueled. It was the Philippines’ only attempt at building a nuclear power plant. Constructing a new nuclear power plant will be more much cheaper for the Philippine government, instead of rehabilitating a four-decade-old unused facility in Bataan, one lawmaker said on Friday.
While rehabilitating the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant will be up to six times cheaper than a building a new facility, which would cost around $6 billion to complete, it would run for about 20 years. But building a new facility would last twice, around 40 years, as suggested by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian.
“If we will go with nuclear power, it would be better to build a brand new plant which is safer and with no controversies,” said Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, whose Senate committee on energy inspected the nuclear power plant in Bataan Peninsula.
Meanwhile. environmentalists have raised their concern regarding the subsequent safety of the decades-old Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, in the wake of nuclear disasters in Chernobyl dating back in 1986 and Fukushima in 2011, as well as the Three Mile Island accident in the United States way back in 1979. Additionally, among the issues raised was that it was built near a major geological fault line and close to the then dormant volcano, the Mount Pinatubo.
If it is shut down, the power plant could be converted into a liquefied natural gas facility, Sen. Gatchalian said.
Gatchalian added that a nuclear power plant the size of the facility in Bataan could only cover around 7 to 8 percent of Luzon’s power demands. The former congressman and nuclear power advocate Mark Cojuangco said the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant could not be going the way of Fukushima in case of an earthquake since the the one in the country use different reactor systems.
The BNPP is also designed to withstand stronger earthquakes, and it’s 19-meters above sea level location makes it safer from any tsunami disasters.