Aquino not keen on nuclear energy as remedy for Mindanao power crisis
Saying Filipinos will not be as studious and meticulous as the Japanese in using nuclear energy, President Benigno Aquino III on Monday thumbed down the proposal again even in the face of a vast shortage of power in Mindanao at the height of summer.
“When you had the Japanese who had their tragedy in Fukushima, you have the Germans rethinking about utilizing nuclear energy, and when we look at how meticulous and studious they are in following all of the rules and regulations to ensure safety, and we are not as meticulous and studious… we really have to study the matter very, very well,” the President said at a media briefing.
At present, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is studying the viability of using nuclear energy to solve the country's power needs.
Aquino said Japan, with its technical prowess, was very hard put to address the situation in Fukushima when it was hit by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011.
“They have been utilizing nuclear energy for quite a long time, so tayo, can we say that we can do better than them right off the bat?” he asked.
Aquino’s mother, the late President Corazon Aquino, mothballed the $2.3 billion Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) in 1986 due to safety concerns. The nuclear plant is one of more infamous white elephants from the administration of deposed president Ferdinand Marcos.
The President’s cousin, former Pangasinan Rep. Mark Cojuangco, has been pushing for the use of nuclear energy and the utilization of BNPP.
Cojuangco and some electric cooperatives in Mindanao brought up the possibility of introducing nuclear energy amid the power shortage in the region.
Aquino said he will study the matter again but he is more inclined to tap “other sources of energy that have less impact – or potential negative impact – that are available to us.”
During the Mindanao Power Summit last Friday, Aquino said Mindanaoans need to bear additional electricity costs to help solve the energy problem there. — Amita O. Legaspi/KBK/HS, GMA News