The Philippines will have to issue a law and create a separate agency if it wants to pursue and promote the development of nuclear energy, the top energy regulator said over the weekend.
Energy Regulatory Commission chairperson Agnes Devanadera said the law on nuclear energy should be enacted within the year.
“The policy to include nuclear energy in our supply mix should be solidified with the enactment of a law that will provide for the policy and regulation of nuclear plants, as well as the creation of an agency that shall focus on the laying down the foundations necessary for the inclusion of nuclear power in our energy mix,” Devanadera said.
The move is one of the proposals of Devanadera to help the incoming administration bring down power rates.
“We should really have specialists on this…There should be an agency to help, to look into, to shepherd the incubation of these ideas,” she said.
Devanadera said the new president will have to decide where to put the agency, whether it will be within or outside of the ERC.
“What is important is there is one, so there is compliance. If it will be adjunct to the work of existing personnel, they won’t be able to follow through,” she said.
Devanadera said an executive order can be issued creating an agency under the Office of the President to oversee nuclear power development.
“It’s like incubation, you have to take baby steps especially there have been accidents in other countries so that maybe, that should be looked into,” she said.
Devanadera said nuclear technology evolved from the traditional concept of nuclear, thus would not more scientific studies.
“Why do we have to give so much importance to nuclear? That’s the only source that can provide big amount, big capacity,” she said.
President Rodrigo Duterte issued Executive Order No. 164 entitled, “Adopting a National Position for a Nuclear Energy Program, and for other Purposes” on Feb. 28.
The president issued the EO upon the recommendation of Department of Energy integrating nuclear energy into our country’s energy mix.
“Since we want a stable, reliable, and sustainable energy resource, I believe that nuclear is the way to go,” Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said earlier.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said “transparency” is the most important factor in any discussions on nuclear power.
“Transparency is key in building the confidence of the public on the use of this complex source of power,” Gatchalian said.
He said establishing nuclear power from the ground up entails numerous pieces of legislation and policies to ensure the safety of the public.
He said the next administration should continue the science-based research and study to determine whether the benefits of nuclear power outweigh the risks.