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


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.”

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