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Palace: US nuclear energy firm seen to invest in PH, provide 430MW

WASHINGTON—Officials of a US-based nuclear energy firm said it was planning to find a site in the Philippines following a meeting with President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.

According to the Presidential Communications Office, NuScale Power Corp. of Oregon is expected to invest $6.5 billion to $7.5 billion to provide 430MW in the country by 2031.

Marcos said the country had a shortfall in power supply and NuScale's support would help address the problem.

“We need everything. We just have to have everything and this new technology is something,” Marcos said.

Clayton Scott, NuScale executive vice president for business, said the company had “very high confidence that our technology will perform as expected.”

NuScale’s small modular reactor (SMR) technology is the first and only one of its kind to receive design approval from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The company has existing projects in Utah, Romania, Indonesia, and Poland providing safe, reliable and cost competitive clean energy to consumers. 

Aside from Scott, also present at the meeting was director for sales Cheryl Collins.

With the NuScale executives was its local partner Enrique Razon, representing his Prime Infrastructure Capital, Inc. (Prime Infra).

Philippine officials at the meeting included Speaker Martin Romualdez, Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual, Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla, Special Assistant to the President Secretary Antonio Lagdameo Jr., Communications Secretary Cheloy Garafil, and Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez.

Speaker Romualdez, in a separate statement, lauded Marcos' efforts in securing a cheaper and more reliable energy source for Filipinos.

"This positive development proves the unrelenting commitment of President Marcos to fulfill his promise to the Filipino people of ensuring the availability of cheap and reliable energy," he said. 

"Adequate and cheaper energy source of power is crucial to sustaining our robust economic growth. But the President is very much aware that building additional energy generation capacity takes years to accomplish and it is prudent that we should continuously explore alternatives—including the use of nuclear power—to achieve this goal," he added.

Last March, the House nuclear energy panel approved a consolidated substitute bill seeking a comprehensive atomic regulatory framework and establishing the Philippine Atomic Regulatory Commission.

"On our end at the House of Representatives, we are working hard to pass measures that would provide the necessary legal framework and policies to encourage the development of alternative power sources in support of the President’s vision for our nation’s energy security," Speaker Romualdez said. 

Senator Francis Tolentino said the talks on nuclear energy in the Philippines would help in addressing the power outage in several provinces in the country.

“Palagay ko ‘yung mga ganong nagpo-provide ng nuclear energy—safe, modern—ay malaking maitutulong rather than relying on the current state of electric distribution. Nakakaawa 'yung sa [Occidental Mindoro] four hours lang ‘yung kuryente do’n,” Tolentino said in an interview with reporters.

“Siguro tama ‘yung pagpupursige to explore ways, avenues kung paano maa-address ‘yung energy shortage natin and nuclear energy is an option. It is the cleanest form of energy thus far,” he added.

Apart from being the cleanest form of energy, Tolentino noted that this new nuclear technology is easily installable.—with Llanesca Panti, Hana Bordey/NB/VBL/AOL, GMA Integrated News