Filipino bishop calls for transparency in nuclear power study

Following the announcement of government plans to explore the possibility of the use of nuclear power in the Philippines, Bishop Ruperto Santos says he hopes the study will be “transparent, non-partisan, and not exclusive.”

By Vatican News

Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga, Philippines, is calling for a “transparent” investigation of the possibility of using nuclear power as an option for power generation.

Last week, Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte issued an executive order creating a committee to study the adoption of a national nuclear energy policy. The order was made public on Wednesday.

The Philippines has southeast Asia’s highest electricity cost, and the supply of electricity is precarious.

Nuclear power could help address those problems, but safety concerns have been expressed in a country often hit by natural disasters.

“We hope that the feasibility study will be transparent, non-partisan and not exclusive,” Bishop Santos said. He expressed hope that the study would address the issue of safety. “This could settle with finality whether our country is ready, able and safe for nuclear energy,” he said.

Alfonso Cusi, the nation’s energy sector, has been advocating for the use of nuclear power to help deal with the growing demand for electricity in the Philippines.

A $2.3 billion nuclear power plant was constructed in Bataan (about 100 km north of the capital Manila) in the late 1970s and early 80s, but was never put into operation. If plans for the use of nuclear power go ahead, the Bataan power plant could be rehabilitated, or new facilities could be built.