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Category Archives: Nuclear Energy

Philippines LaRouche Society (PLS) Head Butch Valdes Addresses IAEA Conference on Nuclear Power in the Asia-Pacific

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Sep. 1 (EIRNS)–The following is a report from Philippines LaRouche Society (PLS) leader Ver Archivido on the speech Wednesday by the head of the PLS Butch Valdes at the IAEA conference in Manila. A transcript will be available soon.

The National Power Institute’s Director Dr. Kenneth Peddicord introduced Antonio Butch Valdes as founder of the Save the Nation movement; a former Undersecretary of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports; a former President of the Asian Institute of Management Alumni Association; and founder of the Philippine LaRouche Society, among other honors.

Butch told the audience the context in which the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant should be viewed. First, the reason it was built, and the resulting effects when it was mothballed in 1986, not only to the Philippines but to the rest of the South East Asian region. And lastly, the Promethean role of nuclear power under the IAEA and others, in bringing the use of fire to the future generations.

The Philippine Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) is the result of US President Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace initiative. PAEC is the precursor of the current Philippine Nuclear Energy Institute (PNRI), the organization that had the mandate for the Philippine Nuclear Power Plant in the late 1970s.

The 1972 shift from the Bretton Woods fixed-exchange rates to the floating-exchange rate system has brought the Philippines economy to dramatic decline — imagine a devaluation of the Philippines currency vis-a-vis the dollar by almost 100%. The price of oil became too expensive. President Ferdinand Marcos pushed for an energy development program along with his 11-point industrialization program, which include nuclear energy development.

In 1985, the Philippine Nuclear Power Plant – Unit 1 was ready to start, but was halted by US Ambassador Stephen Bosworth. Then the “People’s Power” EDSA color-revolution happened, President Marcos was ousted, and, in 1986, the nuclear plant was mothballed by President Corazon Aquino.

With the mothballing of the nuclear power plant, and the implementation of the policy of globalization, the Philippines became a service economy, abandoning entirely the plan of being an industrialized nation, a producer economy. The rest of the South East Asian region then failed to go nuclear as well.

Butch concluded by reminding the audience that only man uses fire, i.e. from wood, coal, oil, nuclear, from fission to fusion, matter-anti-matter, and that mankind can solve any problem.

(Two slides on the New Silk Road and the Development Corridors were prepared, but unfortunately were not shown due to time constraints.)

After the conference, a meeting commenced with the DOE Secretary Alfonco Cusi, attended by government organizations PNRI, NPC, DOE, and members/officers of the Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Islands (CCPI), former Representative Mark Cojuangco, Butch Valdes, other government officials, and some former engineers and employees of the Bataan nuclear power plant when it started in late 1970s.

Engineer Mauro Marcelo of the National Power Corporation made a presentation on nuclear energy, the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in particular. This presentation will be used in order to educate the public, especially the media.

Secretary Cusi said to the press that if it were his sole decision, he would absolutely revive the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.

CCPI President Yulo made recommendations to the DOE Secretary that it is high time that the nuclear plant be revived. He cited 1960s and 1970s statistics showing the Philippines’ leading economic role in ASEAN, which would have been even greater if the nuclear plant had been opened,– but then cited the current situation in 2016, with Philippines having the highest unemployment rate in the ASEAN. Needing a cheap source of energy is a no-brainer, all economies need it, Mr. Yulo said.

Butch Valdes added that while people often associate nuclear energy with electricity, it should be noted that it is also crucial for water, as potable water through desalination can be produced with the heat from the nuclear plant. It then can be used for irrigating the lands of Luzon to create food, solving the water problems of the country.

Secretary Cusi assured then that he will provide a full report to President Duterte.

The IAEA Manila Conference on Nuclear Power in Asia a Great Success

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Sep. 1 (EIRNS)–The three day conference on Nuclear Power in the Asia-Pacific Region, sponsored by the IAEA in Manila, concluded today with a rousing call from the Duterte government’s Energy Secretary for reopening the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Plant and proceeding onwards with nuclear power.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said that the conference had provided him and others with a “virtual crash course on the entire chain of launching  a nuclear program and the importance of public information.” He said that he and others had visited the Bataan plant Thursday morning. “The timing of this summit is perfect,” Cusi said. “As a coincidence we had a hearing also in the Senate. We discussed also nuclear power plants and today we inspected the BNPP and there are a lot of discussions,” he said.

It should be noted that Butch Valdes, the head of the Philippines LaRouche Society, had organized a tour of the Bataan plant for politicians and engineers several years ago, which sparked the growing interest in reversing the disaster of shutting the plant after its completion in 1985, without producing a single watt of electricity. He has since been the leading spokesman for restoring the Bataan plant, and was invited to address the conference on Wednesday (see the accompanying report on his presentation).

Cusi said that “with intensified electrification programs, increasing population, and strong GDP growth, demand for electricity is expected to grow by an average of 5 percent per year… This is the most pressing concern for the country,” and that “given its known characteristics, nuclear energy can be a viable choice for the country.”

Cusi said one of the things they learned was how other nations launched their own nuclear programs.

The meeting was chaired by the Philippine Ambassador to the UN, Zeneida Angara Collinson, who told the press: “For me the most important thing is the understanding of our people about what nuclear energy, nuclear power is all about. Having understood that, then we can form our own opinion.”  She noted that experts who attended the event claimed that the BNPP was sturdier than the nuclear reactor in Fukushima, which was damaged by an earthquake and a tsunami. She said that while a single nuclear reactor will cost billions of pesos, it is cheaper to run because of the relatively cheap cost of fuel, and noted the dozens of nuclear plants being constructed in Asia. “They can no longer get [energy] from biomass, solar,” she said, adding that they were “fluctuating and we cannot use them as baseload.”  The ambassador said the Philippines is already lagging behind.

“Malaysia already has a nuclear science university,” she said, explaining that knowledge in nuclear science can be applied to agriculture and health.

Philippines Is Reconsidering Nuclear Energy; Hosts International Conference on Nuclear Power in the Asia-Pacific

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Aug. 31, 2016 (EIRNS)–The Duterte government of the Philippines is taking the first step toward the potential opening of the Bataan nuclear power plant. It is hosting a three-day International Conference on the Prospects for Nuclear Power in the Asia Pacific Region, which opened yesterday in Manila. Attending are representatives from 18 nations, mainly in Asia. The conference was organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency, and is being hosted by the Philippines Department of Energy.

The keynote speech yesterday was given by Department of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, who said that nuclear is a “viable” source of energy for the Philippines. He reported that technical experts and the IAEA have been invited to help identify the next steps in considering nuclear, and announced that he will revive a government task force that was created in 2007 to study energy alternatives.

Recall that prior to the conference, the Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Islands (the oldest business organization in the Philippines, but distinct from the Philippines Chamber of Commerce) had urged the Duterte government to open the 620-MW Bataan nuclear power plant, which was nearly completed in the 1980s, was halted under U.S. diktat with the overthrow of President Ferdinand Marcos, and has been mothballed for 30 years. The Bataan plant was the first nuclear plant built in Southeast Asia.

Butch Valdes, the head of the Philippines LaRouche Society, who has been in the forefront of the campaign to reopen the Bataan nuclear plant, is one of the invited speakers at the event, representing the Save the Nation Movement which he helped create. A report on his presentation will follow.

Senate President Aquilino Pimental told the conference that conclusions about the future for nuclear energy must be based on scientific evidence, not on political or ideological considerations, the Philippines {Standard} reports. (Outside the conference, about a dozen raggedy protesters from the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice denounced the development of nuclear energy in the Phlippines.) Pimental added that all participants will benefit from the conference: “For we have shown that change is here. We now have open minds.”

Philippine Officials Call on Philippines LaRouche Society for Advice on Nuclear Power

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July 25, 2014 (LPAC)– The following edited report was submitted by Philippines LaRouche Society (PLS) leader Ver Archivido following an official forum in Bataan, Philippines, which called on PLS president Butch Valdes to address the meeting on the need to re-open the mothballed Bataan nuclear reactor, shut down by George Shultz and his murderous crew after their coup against President Ferdinand Marcos in 1986:

July 25, Bagac, Bataan, Philippines — The looming power crises forced the Philippines Department of Energy, and its agency National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) to revisit the possible revival of the 1986-mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, also known as the Philippine Nuclear Power Plant – Unit 1.

Butch Valdes, and Save the Nation movement, known for the Three Urgent Steps, which includes the immediate restart of the BNPP (the others are a green revolution, and a debt moratorium), was invited to address the forum.

The event, entitled Public Forum for the People of Bataan (Stakeholders Involvement) on the Rehabilitation of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP), gathered an audience from people of different walks of life. It was attended by many districts’ leaders: the former-governor, the incumbent, congressman, vice mayor, groups and individuals, professionals, school principal, and farmers.

The Former-Governor Tet Garcia, and his son, Governor Abet Garcia, are publicly known anti-nuclear advocates. Early on in the forum, before hearing anything from the resource speakers about nuclear power, the governor insisted that they won’t allow the rehabilitation of the BNPP, due to safety reasons and Japan’s recent decision on nuclear energy policy since the Fukushima accident.

The officials of the DOE and NAPOCOR gave brief and comprehensive presentations on the Philippines energy needs, and the possible rehabilitation of [the] nuclear plant. Mr. Jesus Tamang, director of the DOE Energy Policy & Planning Bureau, emphasized the continuous high energy requirements of the country, and the Aquino administration’s so-called solutions to meet the demand (but without saying how much it cost). Currently, the Philippines, a developing country, has the most expensive electricity in the world, if not second to Japan, a first-world country with 1/8 of the world’s nuclear power plants (all now closed). Mr. Mau Marcelo, a NAPOCOR official, explained about the BNPP safety features, its history starting from the IAEA’s 1960 report recommending nuclear energy to the Philippines, to the recent period of the world’s commitment to nuclear energy, and having them, the NAPOCOR, under DOE, draft a national nuclear policy, continue nuclear energy information and education to stakeholders, and to decide on the BNPP.

A number of times, Japan’s and Germany’s decision against nuclear energy was brought up, and some geological concerns that pseudo-environmentalists keep on clinging on to. Nevertheless, it was answered adequately by the speakers. The district’s vice mayor, an engineer himself, happens to have worked at the BNPP and have done test-runs, came to help and addressed some technical safety features the BNPP have.

The benefits of fire couldn’t be more complete without the intervention of Save the Nation, and Philippine LaRouche Society. Butch Valdes emphasized how nuclear energy is conceptualized to make the country energy self-sufficient with an indigenous source of power. But having it mothballed made the Philippines 90% dependent on oil, leaving Shell Philippines as the biggest importer. He reminded the audience how mankind is able, and the only species, which knows how to use fire — the discovery of wood, coal, petroleum, nuclear, and beyond. Today’s present generations should thank people from the past who didn’t stop using fire when they got burned with it, instead they studied how it works and controlled it. He ended by saying that it should be on science that people base their reason, and not from propaganda.

Engr. Lemy Roxas, the Save the Nation lead convenor, stated the enormous benefits we could get from nuclear energy, that people shouldn’t get focused only on energy, but also on water generation with nuclear desalination plants, potable water for drinking and irrigation and water management systems, and isotopes for nuclear medicine.

The audience was so glad to have heard these ideas from the organization, and always returned a huge respect and heartfelt massive applause to both Butch and Lemy.

There will be series of fora about nuclear energy and the BNPP. The DOE, NAPOCOR officials invited again the organization early on for the future events.

Debunking the Myths About Nuclear Energy

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This article appears in the February 2, 2007 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

http://www.larouchepub.com/eiw/public/2007/eirv34n05-20070202/eirv34n05-20070202.pdf

Debunking the Myths About Nuclear Energy 

by Marsha Freeman

As the U.S. Congress debates energy policy, EIR provides this summary review of the answers to frequently raised objections to the only feasible solution to the U.S. and worldwide power shortage, nuclear energy.

Q: Aren’t nuclear power plants dangerous to public health?

A: In fact, there has never been any nuclear accident in the United States that has endangered the health or welfare of the public. The worst American accident, at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in Pennsylvania, in 1979, injured no one.

Q: What about the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine in 1986?

A: The severity of that accident was a function of a poor reactor design, and inadequate training of plant personnel. In the United States, oversight by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission provides the standards for reactor design and plant operation, which has contributed to our excellent nuclear power plant safety record.

The new generation of nuclear power plant designs, already being built internationally, feature passive safety systems, which simply shut the plant down if there is an operator error or equipment failure.

By comparison, during 2006, more than 5,000 miners died in China, during the production of the more than 1 billion tons of coal that power its economy. The health of the public in China’s cities is also endangered, by the pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

As far as vulnerability to “terrorist” attacks is concerned, there is no public infrastructure that is as well protected as nuclear power plants. There is no scenario under which a release of radiation (which effect in low dosages is, in any case, completely exaggerated), would significantly affect public health.

Q: What do we do with the radioactive waste from nuclear power plants?

A: There is no such thing as nuclear “waste.” This is a term used in popular parlance by anti-nuclear ideologues to frighten the public, and its elected representatives. More than 95% of the fission products created in commercial power plants can be reprocessed and recycled. The spent fuel from a typical 1,000 megawatt nuclear plant, which has operated over 40 years, can produce energy equal to 130 million barrels of oil, or 37 million tons of coal.

In reprocessing, fissionable uranium-235 and plutonium are separated from the high-level fission products. The plutonium can be used to make mixed-oxide fuel, which is currently used to produce electrical power in 35 European nuclear reactors. The fissionable uranium in the spent fuel can also be reused. From the remaining 3% of high-level radioactive products, valuable medical and other isotopes can be extracted.

Q: What about the stalemate over burying radioactive spent fuel in the Yucca Mountain geological depository in Nevada?

A: This is an irrational program which is a result of the success of the anti-nuclear nonproliferation lobby in the 1970s. The Department of Energy’s Global Nuclear Energy Partnership proposes to spend billions of dollars, and more than a decade in research and development, to develop new, “proliferation proof,” reprocessing technologies, under the guise of preventing the spread of plutonium and nuclear weapons, and bury the spent fuel at Yucca Mountain, in the meantime. This delay is unnecessary. Today, Britain, France, Russia, India, Japan, and China reprocess spent nuclear fuel, and technology today can be used here in the U.S. to eliminate the “nuclear waste” problem, in the short term.

Q: But if the United States goes ahead now with reprocessing, doesn’t making this technology available increase the risk that other nations will develop nuclear weapons?

A: No nation has ever developed a nuclear weapon from a civilian nuclear power plant. If a nation has the intention to develop nuclear weapons, it must obtain the specific technology to do so. Israel is an example of a nation that has no civilian nuclear power plants, but has developed nuclear weapons.

The nonproliferation argument—that controlling technology will reduce the risk of weapons proliferation—is an historically demonstrable false one. Nations make decisions based on their security and military requirements, not on which technologies are available.

Q: Isn’t it the case that nuclear energy is more expensive than fossil, or “alternative” fuels?

A: The radical escalation in the cost of building nuclear power plants in the late 1970s and 1980s was the result of political actions, not economics. Some plants projected to cost less than $1 billion ended up costing ten times that amount, because anti-nuclear “environmentalists,” and legal intervenors were given free rein, using specious and ideological arguments, to delay plant construction for years, sometimes, for decades. Where there has been no political interference, new nuclear power plants have been built in 38 months, on schedule, and on budget, such as in Japan.

While it does require less up-front capital investment to build a gas-fired power plant than a nuclear plant, the operational cost over the 30-or-more-year lifetime of the gas plant swings heavily in favor of nuclear power. And compared to coal, the overall economy is not taxed to transport millions of tons of fuel.

In 2002, faced with increasing demand, and after careful economic analysis, the Tennessee Valley Authority decided that it was more economical to spend $1.8 billion to refurbish its Browns Ferry nuclear plant, which had been shut down since 1986, than build a gas-fired unit.

So-called renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, are not only inefficient because their energy is so dispersed, (see EIR Jan. 19) for discussion of energy flux density), they are so unreliable that back-up power supplies (fossil or nuclear) must be available for any time it is not sunny or windy. So, not only do consumers bear the expense of inefficiency, the entire electric grid system pays the price of having to provide stand-by redundant power-generating capacity to ensure grid reliability.

It was determined in the 1970s, that alternative, “soft” energy sources would only be competitive with fossil and nuclear plants, when energy costs reached a $100/barrel oil-equivalent price. To bring these uneconomical sources on line before then, political decisions were made to spend $20 billion in Federal subsidies for alternative energy, while Federal expenditures for advanced nuclear technologies came to a screeching halt. It has been this irrational investment policy that has made nuclear power “expensive.”

Q: How can the large capital cost of new nuclear power plants be financed?

A: There must be a sea-change in economic policy, where Lyndon LaRouche’s comprehensive approach of fiscal reorganization, and the reconceptualization of the Federal budget on the basis of needed capital investment, are the guidelines.

The provision of reliable and affordable electricity, as recognized by President Franklin Roosevelt more than 50 years ago, is not a luxury, but a necessity. For this reason, in the 1930s, the electric utility industry was regulated by Federal and state governments, to protect consumers from financial manipulation and fraud, and to ensure that affordable power would be available to every home, farm, and factory.

The deregulation of the U.S. utility industry, beginning in the early 1990s, has nearly destroyed an electrical energy system that was the envy of the world. Utility companies must have access to low-interest, long-term credit, assurance from government regulators and policy-makers that “environmental” sabotage and delay will not be tolerated; and that a crash effort will be made to rebuild the nuclear manufacturing industry, which has nearly disappeared. These must be approached as a national policy, not dependent upon Wall Street financiers, but by directing resources into infrastructure through fiscal policy.

Q: But the immediate energy crisis is our dependence upon petroleum. How does nuclear energy alleviate that problem?

A: In two ways. In the long term, the only sensible and renewable replacement for petroleum-based liquid fuels is hydrogen. When next-generation, high-temperature nuclear fission reactors (which are under development now in South Africa and China) come on line, splitting water into its constituents elements will make hydrogen available as a versatile and universally available transportation fuel.

In the near term, petroleum consumption could be dramatically reduced through large-scale investment in mass transit and rail. Our decrepit diesel-fueled rail system should be electrified. Half of the nation’s truck-hauled freight should be taken off the road and put on the rails. Millions of miles, and hours, of commuters driving automobiles should be eliminated, by using public transportation. A crash program to build conventional intra-city commuter trains, and magnetic levitation (maglev) systems for inter-city transport, would replace finite and polluting fossil fuel-based transport with nuclear power.

Q: But isn’t it the case that there is broad opposition to new nuclear plants, and that citizens do not want plants built in “their backyard?”

A: The opposite is the case. Over the past two years, as utilities have indicated they will be applying to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for licenses to build new nuclear plants, communities have been competing with each other, to offer attractive packages to companies, in order to encourage them to build plants in their “backyard.”

Last year, resolutions were passed by communities in Louisiana; Oswego, New York; and Fort Gibson, Mississippi, to support the addition of new nuclear reactors to existing nuclear sites. The states of Georgia, Utah, South Carolina, and South Dakota have passed resolutions supporting the building of new nuclear power plants.

At the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, just a stone’s throw from Washington, D.C., the Board of County Commissioners voted last August to offer $300 million in tax breaks to the Constellation Energy Group to add a third reactor at the Calvert Cliffs site. The plant is the largest employer in that Maryland county, and the $16 million it pays in taxes each year contributes 9% of the county’s total tax revenue.

In September 2006, Bisconti Research Inc. released the results of a telephone survey, of a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults, about nuclear energy. The survey found that nearly 70% of those queried support nuclear power, and 68% of those who live near an operating plant, support building a new nuclear reactor at the existing site.