On Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi’s Project to Operationalize the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant
In the past two months, the Department of Energy (DOE) under the leadership of Secretary Alfonso Cusi has shown renewed interest in reviving the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP). A week after President Rodrigo Duterte announced that nuclear power was not going to happen under his watch, Secretary Cusi announced on November 11 that he had been able to get the green light from the President to “proceed to work for <BNPP’s> rehabilitation and full operation.”
We, theNetwork Opposed to Bataan Nuclear Power Plant Revival (NO to BNPP Revival) protest this planned rehabilitation of the BNPP, based on the firm assertion that its operationalization will be detrimental to the environment and our people.
We stand strong in our resistance against the DOE and Secretary Cusi’s decision to even consider the BNPP as a safe and viable source of energy at this point in time. We enjoin the public to stand against the BNPP’s revival on the following grounds:
Built on the slopes of Mt., Natib, a capable volcano, and on the active Lubao fault, the BNPP stands on a massive geohazard area that can be affected, if not destroyed, by natural calamities at any time. No technological advancements prevent, or prepare us for, disaster, and this has been proven by the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster in Japan where an earthquake caused serious damage to the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant. As such it is clear that operationalizing the BNPP, given where it stands, will put the lives and health of millions in inestimable danger.
The construction of the BNPP was completed in 1984,using technology which at this point in time is close to obsolete. DOE’s estimate that it would take only $1 billion dollars to make the plant operational is based on a 2011 study and reflects prices from five years ago. In reality, it would now require billions of dollars, as well as extensive research, to rehabilitate the BNPP with the latest technology. This money is better spent towards harnessing safe indigenous energy sources.
Uranium, the primary fuel that is used to operate a nuclear power plant is a foreign resource that has been going through constant price increases due to scarcity. BNPP’s operation willincrease our dependence on foreign imported – and expensive – radioactive fuels, whichputs into question the assertion that it will mean cheaper electricity for all Filipinos.
Nuclear waste storage and disposal technology is a health hazard for the people of Bataan and neighboring provinces. The harmful effects of nuclear materials are severe and lasting, with toxicity lasting for thousands of years.
Reviving the BNPP will not solve electricity shortages as these are caused not by an extreme undersupply of electricity but by market mechanisms that manipulate supply to increase prices.
The BNPP is a health hazard and environmental threat, one that previous governments have kept closed for good reason: even the dictator Ferdinand Marcos himself did not dare push through with operationalizing the BNPP, after his own 1980 Puno Commission declared it unsafe.
In the present, the BNPP is a monument to the Marcos regime’s reign of corruption. The dictator left us with a $2.3 billion-dollar debt for the power plant’s construction, which the Filipino people paid back for 30 years. Taxpayers’ money has also been used to pay for the annual maintenance of the BNPP, amounting to P50 million pesos a year.
The Network Opposed to BNPP Revival sees this orchestrated effort to revive the BNPP as symbolic of the possible return to the era of anti-environment and anti-people policies, laden with corruption and lack of transparency, all of which hark back to Marcos’s oppressive and violent regime.
A Martial Law remnant such as the defective and dangerous BNPP should not be allowed to operate. We stand united in our resistance against the revival of the BNPP, as well as against all other policies that will cause the plunder of our environment and our nation. We pledge to strengthen our campaign against the BNPP revival and encourage everyone to join us in our fight for safe, affordable electricity as a public utility.
PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT, UPHOLD PEOPLE’S RIGHTS, NO TO BNPP REVIVAL!
Network Opposed to Bataan Nuclear Power Plant Revival (NO to BNPP Revival)
AGHAM Advocates of Science and Technology for the People (AGHAM) | Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE) | Center for Environmental Concerns – Philippines (CEC-Phils) | AMIHAN National Federation of Peasant Women | Ban Toxics | Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR) | #NoToBNPP (facebook.com/NoToBNPP) | Erni Mayen Maray – Teacher, AGHAM NCR | Maria Fe Resol – AGHAM NCR | Dr. Amado Angeles – Animal Scientist, AGHAM UPLB | Carol Araullo – Chairperson, BAYAN | Carmelito Tatlonghari – Retired Radiation Control Superintendent, Bataan Nuclear Power Plant | Vito Hernandez – Faculty member, University of the Philippines-Science and Society Program | Dr. Teodoro Mendoza – Institute of Crop Science, College of Agriculture, University of the Philippines Los Baños | Teresita R. Perez – Lecturer, Department of Environmental Science, Ateneo de Manila University | Dr. Romy Quijano – Retired Professor, Dept. of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Medicine, University of the Philippines Manila | Dr. Kelvin Rodolfo – Geologist, Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois, Chicago | Dr. Fernando Siringan – Marine Science Specialist
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