October 27, 2023
MANILA -The Department of Energy (DOE) is now “laying the grounds” to meet the requirements for integrating nuclear sources into the country’s energy mix, its top official said.
At the same time, an executive of Aboitiz Power Corp. said the first step to adopting nuclear power would be to amend relevant laws governing the energy sector.
Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla said the agency had started crafting the National Policy and Strategy for Safety on Nuclear Energy, outlining the long-term commitment to achieving the fundamental safety objectives and applying the essential safety principles set forth by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
“This policy document is intended to foster transparency in all related activities of our nuclear energy program, particularly on the protection of the people and the environment,” Lotilla said during a virtual roundtable discussion of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Advisory Council.
The energy chief also said the DOE was working with various institutions and the private sector to implement the nuclear power program, especially on financing mechanisms to attract investments and encourage technology adoption.
Felino Bernardo, Aboitiz Power Corp.’s COO for Thermal Business Group, said the government would also need to work on establishing the regulatory body, as well as implement relevant regulations and policies to spur investments in nuclear energy.
“The DOE has to put it in their policy, the energy mix of the Philippines and come up with the right signal for developers to come up with their own plans to make sure that we build accordingly,” Bernardo said.
Bernardo said the government might want to adjust the length of supply contracts to accommodate nuclear energy, noting that the rules on the competitive selection process prescribed a maximum length of 15 years for power supply agreements.
“There’s a dissonance between the current policies and what nuclear can do,” he said, adding that nuclear plants last for 40 to 60 years and in some instances, up to 80 years. INQ