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DOE receives report on nuclear infrastructure review mission

The Department of Energy (DOE) on Wednesday received the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) report on the phase 1 of the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission.

“With energy security at the cornerstone of our country’s energy agenda, we need to bring to the forefront, intelligent, informed, and comprehensive dialogue on whether we could safely utilize nuclear power as one of our alternative sources to meet our ever-growing energy requirements," Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said.

"For the past three years, we have been working hand in hand with the International Atomic Energy Agency to find clear answers to all our longstanding questions on nuclear power, most especially its safety aspect," he added.

IAEA conducts INIR missions to assist its member-states in evaluating the status of the 19 infrastructure requirements to determine the possibility of introducing a safe, secure, and sustainable national nuclear program.

In October 2016, the DOE created the Nuclear Energy Program Implementing Organization (NEPIO) upon the directive of the Energy chief.

The creation of NEPIP was in compliance with IAEA policy guidelines, to spearhead unified and coordinated efforts and activities relative to the conduct of various studies and research on the feasibility of nuclear energy development in the Philippines.

On December 10, 2018, the INIR Mission Phase 1 was conducted in Manila. The DOE presented its self-evaluation report, which outlined progress made relative to the 19 nuclear infrastructure requirement issues identified by the IAEA in their "Milestones Approach," a comprehensive and systemic guide for countries considering the introduction of nuclear power.

The Philippines would need to address and satisfy the 19 infrastructure issues before it would be able to successfully embark on a full nuclear energy program.

The 19 nuclear infrastructure issues are the following:

  • national position
  • nuclear safety
  • management
  • funding and financing
  • legal framework
  • safeguards
  • radiation protection
  • regulatory framework
  • electrical grid
  • human resource development
  • stakeholders involvement
  • site and supporting facilities
  • environmental protection
  • emergency planning
  • nuclear security
  • nuclear fuel cycle
  • radioactive waste management
  • industrial involvement
  • procurement

The phase 1 of INIR mission report contains the IAEA’s initial findings on the country’s existing good practices, undertaken improvements, as well as its recommendations and suggestions for the DOE-NEPIO's preparation of the Integrated Work Plan (IWP).

The IAEA's "Milestones Approach" includes 19 nuclear infrastructure issues, which require specific actions during each of the three phases.

Completion of the actions for a phase represents the achievement of the associated milestone, according to the IAEA.

The IWP will answer all IAEA concerns should the government decide to pursue the utilization of nuclear power as a potential source of energy for the country, the DOE said.

The IWP meeting between the IAEA and the DOE-NEPIO is scheduled to take place on 12-15 November in Vienna, Austria. —KBK, GMA News