By Macon Araneta
While the Department of Energy (DoE) awaits Malacañang’s reply on its submitted nuclear policy, Sen. Win Gatchalian said the DoE should release a report to the public on the integrated work plan for nuclear power infrastructure in the country.
The government concluded a week-long discussion in November last year with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which gave its Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) on introducing a safe, secure and sustainable national nuclear program.
Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi called for the creation of Nuclear Energy Program Implementing Organization (NEPIO) in October 2016 to comply with IAEA’s policy guidelines in conducting research on the feasibility of nuclear energy development.
Gatchalian, Senate Energy Committee chairman, stressed that ordinary Filipinos will never understand the reason behind these nuclear talks if the government will continue to keep them in the dark when it comes to the Philippine nuclear plan.
“The more the public is informed about the government’s nuclear plan, the more comfortable they become. By being transparent, we are telling the Filipinos that the government is serious and committed in discussing and investigating whether nuclear power might be part of the country’s future energy policy,” the Senator explained.
This is not the first time that Gatchalian called out the DoE for its lack of transparency on nuclear energy agenda. In October last year, Gatchalian probed the DoE’s ambiguity on its nuclear plan amid reports that the Philippines and Russia signed a deal on exploring the possible construction of a nuclear power plant in the country.
“The basic question is — is nuclear energy fit for the Philippines? Will it deliver the promises of lower electricity cost at very minimal risk? Most importantly, what will we do with the nuclear waste in the long term?” asked Gatchalian.
Gatchalian has filed a resolution for the Senate Energy Committee to conduct an inquiry on the status of the country’s nuclear energy plan.