The Philippines is not about to become a nuclear-powered country at least in the next six years.
President Duterte has ruled out tapping nuclear power to augment the country’s power supply during his term, citing public safety concerns.
The President argued that the country does not yet need nuclear energy but agreed that such proposal must be thoroughly by Congress and other concerned sectors.
“It is not yet an extremist. Wala pa talaga tayo danger zone that we will die if there’s no energy because it runs the machines but we are not in that danger,” Duterte said in an interview with reporters after visiting his parents’ tomb in Davao City last Tuesday night.
“But when the going gets tough, maybe someday (but) not during my presidency. Huwag muna ngayon,” Duterte added.
The President said “tight safeguards” must first be established to avoid nuclear meltdowns that harm the public.
“We have to come up with safeguards. Really, really tight safeguards to assure that there will be no disasters if there is a nuclear leak or explosion somewhere in the nuclear reactors that we will build in,” he said.
“It has to be studied carefully by Congress and by the Filipino people. For after all, pag may leak ‘yan, pag mag ano, lahat tayo tatamaan diyan and it’s our country, remember that,” he said.
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi earlier disclosed the Department of Energy has started to look into nuclear power as one of the options to ensure long-term energy stability for the country. Cusi claimed that nuclear power may be unpopular but is a good and safe option for the country.
The Energy chief also raised the possibility of reviving the mothballed nuclear power plant in Bataan to provide cheap electricity in the country. It would supposedly require a $1-billion investment to operate the nuclear facility built four decades ago. (GENALYN D. KABILING)