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The Known Advantages and Disadvantages of Reopening the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant

In August 1977, the Philippines developed a nuclear power plant to solve the underlying problem of the 1973 oil crisis. The plant was situated in the northern province of Bataan and was called the 621 MWe Westinghouse unit. After several years of construction of the Bataan nuclear power plant, the completion was in 1984. But, unfortunately, it has never been commissioned and was mothballed for many reasons. With that, the plant fell into disrepair and has become a sleeping power giant up until now.

But this was about to change when Ferdinand Marcos Jr held talks with Kim Inchul, South Korea’s envoy, on May 23, 2022, about the possibility of reviving the plant. The South Korean ambassador has even offered to help the nuke plant revival to improve the country’s information technology facilities. It was in S.Korea that a similar facility was also built when the BNPP was put up. However, despite the support from other foreign ambassadors and the executive order that former President Duterte had signed for the development and implementation of the nuclear program, some people disagreed with the revival of the Bataan nuclear power plant. They believe that it poses a potential threat to the public’s health.

With that, we have listed some of the advantages and disadvantages of reopening the nuclear plant for you to decide whether it is worth reopening or not.

Advantages of Bataan Nuclear Revival

There are several recognized pros that the power plant is worth reviving. First, it has a positive reason why it was developed in the first place. Some known advantages relate to the cost of electricity, effective power sources and many others.

Cheaper energy rate

One of the known advantages of the Bataan nuclear power plant revival is that it can reduce the cost people will spend on their electricity consumption every month. It is because when you compare this type of power plant to the usual coal-fired ones, it has lower cost and has enormous cost reduction for every home. It is estimated that the power plant can charge as low as P2 per kWh than the P6 per kWh of the coal-fired power plant.(also for graphic comparison, huge amts of coal is equivalent to a pea-sized uranium for energy)

Lower the risk of power shortages

As the Philippines’ population grows every year, it is expected that there will be power shortages and outages due to the high electricity demand. However, with the revival of the Bataan nuclear power plant, there will be no energy gap between places and areas in the country as it serves as an integrated risk management for these situations. In short, it is an effective energy solution to cater to the vast needs of the growing Filipino population.

Disadvantages of Bataan Nuclear Revival

Aside from the known advantages of restarting the power plant, (did it start at all?) it also comes with disadvantages that some people would strongly point out. These cons speak more of the cost that the country would spend for the sake of the rehabilitation and revival process.

Huge cost for rehabilitation

Most people say that keeping the Bataan nuclear power plant requires a lot of money. When you say a lot, it simply means that it could cost around $1 billion or P50 million per year for maintenance. In this regard, the Department of Energy has consulted some experts from Korea and Russia to conduct a pre-feasibility study to revive the power plant. Based on the two experts, the cost is $1 billion to $2 billion or P55.8 billion. 

Maintenance cost for nuclear waste

One of the many concerns of reviving the nuclear power plant is the radioactive wastes. As it creates a 1,000-megawatt nuclear power station, the generation of electricity would produce three cubic meters of vitrified waste per year, demanding more money for the maintenance and decommissioning. Filipino scientist Fabian Dayrit said that nuclear power has a 40-year maximum life span, where a massive amount of money should be invested for safe waste disposal.

Conclusion

The Bataan nuclear power plant is indeed a hidden gem. It has been standing in the beautiful area of the Bataan Peninsula for years. And as the country needs clean energy to fulfill the demand of many, the revival of the said plant is the best option. But due to its funding controversies, structural concerns, and security risks, the people’s opinion has been cut in half. Some would agree with reviving a reliable and cost-effective energy power solution, and some disagree with its negative impact. How about you? What’s your stand on the reopening of the nuclear power plant? What side are you on?

Interested to know more about the Bataan nuclear power plant? DOSTv has all the information for you regarding weather, science and technology. You can visit https://www.dostv.ph/ today to learn exciting news updates as we bring science to the people through television and online programs.

References

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