Cusi: Going nuclear shouldn’t be taboo

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Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi (center), together with International Atomic Energy Agency Nuclear Division Director Dohee Han and the Nuclear Energy Programme Implementing Organization members headed by Undersecretary Donato Marcos, gather for a photo at the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review Mission 10 December, at the Makati Shangri-La, Manila. DOE Photo

The Department of Energy (DoE) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Monday conducted the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INRI) Mission at the Shangri-La Makati hotel as part of the activities of the Nuclear Energy Program Implementing Organization (NEPIO).

“In the spirit of technology neutrality, I decided to reignite the discourse on nuclear power despite its being taboo,” Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said.

He also said the Philippines used to rank high among 125 countries in the so-called energy trilemma index of the World Energy Council in the last four years, with a renewable energy share of 24.6 percent in the country’s generation mix.

The index is a tool that rates the countries’ energy performance in terms of security, equity and environmental sustainability.

However, Cusi is concerned that of late the Philippines trails in terms of security and equity which are the two other dimensions of the trilemma. The Philippines placed 70th on energy security and came in at 96th place for energy equity.

Thus, the DoE is openly considering introducing nuclear power into the energy mix in the race to provide uninterrupted, secure, reliable, sustainable and affordable electricity throughout the archipelago.

This would also improve the country’s over-all energy trilemma index rank, which currently stands at 74th out of 125 countries.

At the start of the Duterte Administration, the DoE adopted a technology-neutral approach and allowed for the unhindered consideration of all options to achieve the country’s energy goals.

The nuclear event serves as the country’s status report to the IAEA on progress made relative to the 19 infrastructure issues that need to be addressed before the Philippines is able to embark on a full nuclear energy program.

The event was attended by IAEA Nuclear Division Director Dohee Han; IAEA Review Team Leader Milko Kovachev; other IAEA personalities and partners from the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) and members of the NEPIO headed by DoE Undersecretary Donato Marcos.
The country’s initial undertakings on the nuclear energy option with the support of IAEA and PNRI include the establishment of NEPIO in 2016 and the DoE’s submission to the Office of the President its proposed national position on nuclear energy in April this year.

Cusi assured the consuming public the government will continue to apply a calculated and scientific approach in evaluating the feasibility of nuclear energy for power generation and ensure the nuclear policy of the country will be comprehensive and sound, especially in terms of safety.

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