Imee on reopening of dormant Bataan Nuclear Power Plant: ‘Explore the Alternatives’

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Senator Imee R. Marcos treads carefully when it comes to reopening the dormant Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.

She has remained silent on proposals to reopen the dormant Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) due to a constitutional prohibition on nuclear energy.

‘‘For me, we should explore the alternatives at the same time why not look at BNPP if it is really possible pero ingat tayo (but we should be careful because there is a) constitutional prohibition sa (on) nuclear,’’ Marcos, chairwoman of the Senate Economic Affairs committee, said during a TV interview.

‘‘Nasa Constitution natin at ingat na ingat si Presidente Duterte, doon sa nuclear weapons, kasi merong prohibition sa Constitution ngayon na wag gagamit ng nuclear kung marahas ang pagagamitan (That is in the Constitution …that is why President Duterte is very careful on this issue…because there is a constitutional prohibition on the use of nuclear if it is for aggressive purposes),’’ she pointed out.

‘‘Medyo ingat sya doon at kailangan klaro sa ating yun (We should be careful on this and issues must be cleared up),’’ she further stated, adding that the Department of Energy (DOE) itself has an open mind on this issue.

To resurrect the BNPP, Marcos stated that there is a South Korean offer and another from Russia.

She stated that Congressman Mark Cojuangco has cited the installation of the same BNPP’s Westinghouse nuclear power plant in Eastern Europe and South America as a reason for the BNPP’s reopening.

Marcos lamented that BNPP’s processor has been stolen at ‘‘yung ibang bahagi daw ay tsinap-chop nang bongga (other parts of BNPP had been stolen),’’ she added.

‘‘Ang pakiwari naman ni Bataan Governor Abet (Garcia) ay gawin na lang cloud facility kasi shell structure na lang sya (Bataan Governor Abet Garcia thinks the BNPP shell structure could be used as a Cloud facility.’’

The BNPP was constructed between the 1970s and the mid-1980s during the administration of her late father, President Ferdinand E. Marcos.

President Duterte requested in October that the DOE investigate the reopening of the BNPP.

During a press conference, then-Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said the President, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, and former Pangasinan representative Mark Cojuangco, who leads a group of nuclear energy advocates, discussed the possibility of reviving the dormant nuclear facility.

“Pagdating po dito sa meeting with Secretary Cusi and former [congressman] Mark Cojuangco, ang sabi po ni President, ‘Start from the ground, pag-aralan mabuti but start from the ground’ (As regards the meeting with Secretary Cusi and former congressman Mark Cojuangco, the President said, ‘Start from the ground; study thoroughly but start from the ground’),” Roque said.

According to Roque, the President also wanted Bataan residents to be consulted because the decision to reopen the plant should not be made solely by the government.

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