MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers belonging to the progressive Makabayan bloc in Congress have expressed their support for President Rodrigo Duterte’s stance against the use of nuclear energy during his presidency.
“This is good and one less of a problem that would haunt Filipinos. The government should instead concentrate more on renewable energy rather than dangerous sources of power like the long mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP),” said Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Carlos Zarate in a statement on Thursday.
Zarate said tapping nuclear power poses grave dangers and issues ranging from health, environment, economics, and nuclear contamination, which clearly outweigh the benefits it may bring.
“Furthermore, the issues of health risks and environmental damage from uranium mining, processing and transport, the risk of nuclear meltdown or sabotage, and the problem of radioactive nuclear waste cannot just be set aside or ignored,” Zarate said.
The International Atomic Energy Agency had already ruled “that the BNPP failed the safety location requirement as it is located near Natib Volcano and is very near a fault line”.
Zarate noted that nuclear power is neither a low-carbon electricity source nor is it cheap, suggesting that the government tap more renewable sources of energy and put an end to the privatization of the remaining state-owned generation facilities.
“Scrapping the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), which resulted to us having the most expensive electric rates in Asia, is a must if we want to be freed from the greed of the energy oligarchs,” he added.
Meanwhile, another progressive solon, Gabriela Partylist Rep. Emmi De Jesus came out in support of President Duterte’s disapproval of nuclear energy and proposed repealing of EPIRA to cut down power costs.
De Jesus explained that reversing the privatization of state power assets as mandated by the EPIRA law can create a pro-consumer energy industry policy, as collusion among independent power producers and the privatized power grid will be obstructed and price manipulation will be put in check.
“Major hydroelectric and geothermal assets that used to belong to the National Power Corporation should be re-nationalized, and future renewables should be state-owned to create a more stable power grid,” De Jesus added. TNF