Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My trip to Bataan Nuclear Power Plant

If we're talking about benefits, The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) at Morong, Bataan is absolutely could provide big advantages such as cheaper electricity, jobs for the Filipinos and environment friendly community. These are actually the three issues we have at present; Cost, Jobs & Climate Change. 

I was invited by Congressman Mark Cojuangco to attend this free tour at BNPP. Mark Cojuangco was a Representative of the 5th District of Pangasinan. He is the son of SMC Chair Danding Cojuangco and nephew of President Cory Aquino, that made him President NoyNoy Aquino as his second cousin. He also authored and pushed the controversial House Bill number 04631 that mandates the re- commissioning and commercial operation of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. Congressman Mark wife Kimi is the incumbent Representative of the same district of Pangasinan and also pushing for BNPP. 

It was the second invitation actually but the first invite came from the Chairwoman of Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines and a good friend Elizabeth Angsioco. For this second invite, I made sure this time that no matter what, even my other eye was kinda red that day, mind over body, I went..eventually the eye is ok. 

I am early at NAPOCOR QC, the meeting place since I invited media from Region 4A; Jojo Busayong of KBP, Joel Cabactulan of Ronda Balita, Sol Luzano and Robert Maico of Kliping Times, Josephine Escovidal of Magic, it's effort for them to come from Calamba so I must to be there early to welcome them. I also invited 3 media from NCR; Ely Valendez of Elys Planet, Estrella Gallardo of Manila Newsweek and Custer Deocaris of DWBL. 

It's 3 hours drive to BNPP, first stop was a delicious brunch courtesy of Congressman Mark at NPC Hotel before heading to a 30 minutes drive to BNPP. At the actual site, Cong. Mark gave an introduction with a PowerPoint presentation that explained the benefits BNPP could provide to the Filipinos. 

Photo ops inside the Bus

Here's the summary:

Cong. Mark believes that the poor will avail the electricity more in half its price under Nuclear Power Plant. Though he strongly support renewable energy sources like wind, the cheapest of them, it requires an investment 4.5 to 7.5 times than the investment required for nuclear or fossil fuel power. Solar is even more expensive. The renewables, excepting possibly geothermal, are not of baseload quality—that is, not 24/7 because it needs sunlight.  To make it so would require further investment in storage technologies (batteries) and inverters, which then makes it even more unreachable and impossible. 

Cong. Mark said nuclear power can be sold at around P2.50 per kilowatt hour (kWh), or below the National Power Corp.’s current rate of P4.50 to P5 per kWh. Meaning half the price and half savings with BNPP. 

PressCon and Plant Tour

Nuclear Power Plant is proven to give more but paying less in other countries like in Korea, which have over 25 years of successful operations. These plants, more than any other paper study, physically demonstrate the validity of BNPP advantage.

Answering the safeties of BNPP, the construction materials used were all US Made and according to the Engineering standards and manpower were all skilled under Westinghouse. The BNPP is situated in the most strategic location and structurally sound more than the standards of the usual Nuclear Power Plant design. 

In 2010, the cost for rehabilitation was US 1 Billion based on the specifications needed that time which according to Cong. Mark, The Return On Investment will be received in a short period of time or 4 years.  In his tenure as the Representative of 5th District of Pangasinan, He proposed two nuclear power plants that would cost about US $ 5 billion. He said constructing the two units will only take five to seven years. He added that the best place to construct the nuclear power plants is on coastal areas, as its equipment needs the water from the sea as coolant.

According to Earth Day Network Philippines President Bert Guevarra, " My position is that no country has solved the issue of nuclear waste disposal. Even US has no official disposal site for nuclear waste. Unless we have clear disposal, we cannot begin nuclear power. That is besides the water requirement for cooling, since we are in a warm country."

Filipinos right now are in poverty and with the increasing cost of basic commodities such as food and power consumption, BNPP could be the answer. Law of Supply and Demand, the higher the population, the higher we need electricity to supply to these people & the higher the cost of electricity from the Private firm thus according to Cong. Mark, that's why we need to re open the BNPP, to help the Filipinos & for the environment since Nuclear Power will not emit hazardous chemical. 

In 1976, the administration of then President Ferdinand Marcos started building the BNPP. But in 1979, following the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in the US, safety issues were raised and an inspection revealed that the BNPP had around 4,000 defects.
It was nearly complete in 1986 when Marcos was overthrown in a people power revolt.
The government had spent more than $2 billion for the nuclear facility we never used.

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