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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        18  March 2011

Aquino administration proposes nuclear plant

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The Aquino administration has proposed the establishment of a nuclear power plant in its Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) for 2011-2016, according to the country's socioeconomic planning chief.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Cayetano Paderanga told reporters that the proposed nuclear plant in the draft MTPDP is just one of the possibilities that was mentioned during the consultation with the civil society as an alternative source of power.

"The assessment of the nuclear source of energy as a safe source will depend on scientific judgments which we hope Philippines society will be able to get," Paderanga said. While the government is looking for alternatives sources of power, he however said the government has yet to secure a specific proposal for a nuclear plant.

The planning chief said the construction of a nuclear power plant will depend on the recommendation of the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), which the President chairs.

"We have solar already, we have wind turbines in the north so those things actually they are projects that are proposed to do to look into those things," Paderanga said.

Earlier, non-government Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) bucked the government plan to look into nuclear power as a solution to the country's supply woes.

FDC revived its opposition after massive explosions rocked Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which was damaged during last week's 8.9-magnitude earthquake and 10-meter high tsunami. "All attempts at reviving the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant must be quashed and the nuclear option indicated in the government's economic blueprint junked," Ric Reyes, FDC president, said.

"We should learn from Japan," Reyes said, adding that the Philippines and Japan are situated on the edges of the Pacific Ring of Fire.

According to FDC, the Aquino administration is still considering nuclear energy as reflected in the draft MTPDP, the government's economic blueprint which identifies growth sectors for the next six years.

Under Chapter 4 (2.2) of the draft MTPDP 2011-2016, the government will pursue the strategy of alternative technologies in power generation such as nuclear power.

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