New Philippine leader seeks help from South Korea for revival of nuclear power plant

Bataan Nuclear Power Plant: Can or should this ruin be revived?

Philippine president-elect Ferdinand Marcos emphasised his determination to adopt nuclear power in the country, holding talks on May 23 with South Korea’s envoy on possibly reviving a mothballed $2.3-billion plant built in the early 1980s during his father’s waning dictatorship, AFP reported.

The 620-megawatt Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, some 100 kilometers west of Metro Manila was left dormant after the elder Marcos was toppled in 1986.

However, revival plans have been on the table for years amid persistent electricity shortages across the country. Outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte even issued an executive order earlier this year making nuclear power part of the country’s planned energy mix as part of the phasing out of coal which accounts for more than half of the Philippines’ power generation.

Revival or new plant?

In the run-up to the May 9, 2022 presidential election, Marcos junior spoke about the need for nuclear power to address exorbitant electricity costs in the country.

He subsequently met South Korean ambassador to discuss a proposal on reviving the Bataan plant with the help of South Korean expertise in the industry.

“Can we continue with it or do we need to build a new one? What are the things that we will have to do?” Marcos asked rhetorical questions at a news conference after the meeting.

“So we revived the discussions on it, although they have come before. We will now study their recommendations and their findings, and we will see if we can still apply,” he added.

$1 billion for the upgrade

Studies by South Korean and Russian experts showed it was possible to get the plant working again, energy secretary Alfonso Cusi told a senate hearing in 2020. But upgrading the ageing facility fitted with outdated analogue technology could take at least four years and cost another $1 billion.

There are also question marks on its design and location. The plant is located near several volcanoes in a part of the Philippines which is regularly shaken by earthquakes.

Building a new nuclear power plant from scratch would take three to seven years. Cost estimates for construction are between $4 billion and $9 billion.

Supporters of nuclear power in the Philippines say the technology offers a cleaner option to help meet demand. But critics argue that renewable sources, such as wind and solar, are cheaper and safer to produce in a country frequently hit by earthquakes, typhoons and volcanic eruptions.



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[caption id="attachment_38483" align="alignleft" width="300"] Bataan Nuclear Power Plant: Can or should this ruin be revived?[/caption] Philippine president-elect Ferdinand Marcos emphasised his determination to adopt nuclear power in the country, holding talks on May 23 with South Korea's envoy on possibly reviving a mothballed $2.3-billion plant built in the early 1980s during his father's waning dictatorship, AFP reported. The 620-megawatt Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, some 100 kilometers west of Metro Manila was left dormant after the elder Marcos was toppled in 1986. However, revival plans have been on the table for years amid persistent electricity shortages across the country. Outgoing President...

Bataan Nuclear Power Plant: Can or should this ruin be revived?

Philippine president-elect Ferdinand Marcos emphasised his determination to adopt nuclear power in the country, holding talks on May 23 with South Korea’s envoy on possibly reviving a mothballed $2.3-billion plant built in the early 1980s during his father’s waning dictatorship, AFP reported.

The 620-megawatt Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, some 100 kilometers west of Metro Manila was left dormant after the elder Marcos was toppled in 1986.

However, revival plans have been on the table for years amid persistent electricity shortages across the country. Outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte even issued an executive order earlier this year making nuclear power part of the country’s planned energy mix as part of the phasing out of coal which accounts for more than half of the Philippines’ power generation.

Revival or new plant?

In the run-up to the May 9, 2022 presidential election, Marcos junior spoke about the need for nuclear power to address exorbitant electricity costs in the country.

He subsequently met South Korean ambassador to discuss a proposal on reviving the Bataan plant with the help of South Korean expertise in the industry.

“Can we continue with it or do we need to build a new one? What are the things that we will have to do?” Marcos asked rhetorical questions at a news conference after the meeting.

“So we revived the discussions on it, although they have come before. We will now study their recommendations and their findings, and we will see if we can still apply,” he added.

$1 billion for the upgrade

Studies by South Korean and Russian experts showed it was possible to get the plant working again, energy secretary Alfonso Cusi told a senate hearing in 2020. But upgrading the ageing facility fitted with outdated analogue technology could take at least four years and cost another $1 billion.

There are also question marks on its design and location. The plant is located near several volcanoes in a part of the Philippines which is regularly shaken by earthquakes.

Building a new nuclear power plant from scratch would take three to seven years. Cost estimates for construction are between $4 billion and $9 billion.

Supporters of nuclear power in the Philippines say the technology offers a cleaner option to help meet demand. But critics argue that renewable sources, such as wind and solar, are cheaper and safer to produce in a country frequently hit by earthquakes, typhoons and volcanic eruptions.



Support ASEAN news

Investvine has been a consistent voice in ASEAN news for more than a decade. From breaking news to exclusive interviews with key ASEAN leaders, we have brought you factual and engaging reports – the stories that matter, free of charge.

Like many news organisations, we are striving to survive in an age of reduced advertising and biased journalism. Our mission is to rise above today’s challenges and chart tomorrow’s world with clear, dependable reporting.

Support us now with a donation of your choosing. Your contribution will help us shine a light on important ASEAN stories, reach more people and lift the manifold voices of this dynamic, influential region.

 

 

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