Pastoral position on gov’t feasibility study of introducing nuclear energy
We ask “why?” and “why now?” Do we really need it? With this unprecedented and tumultuous time of Covid-19 pandemic, our priority is to instill hope and foster healing of our people, recovery of our economy and rebuilding of livelihood. We have survived and surpassed many trying years and are now progressing. Why should we decide now to have a feasibility study for the inclusion of nuclear energy in our country? Some Western countries have already shut down their nuclear plants. Why are we now propagating and thinking of nuclear energy for our country?
The potential of a nuclear meltdown, like in Chernobyl and Fukushima, will be detrimental to the environment and the local residents. Also, the amount of nuclear waste it will produce every year will be tremendous and so does the cost to dispose of it.
While nuclear power is cheap to run and produce inexpensive fuel, the cost to build and maintain the facility are exorbitant. It will cost billions of dollars. What most people do not realize is they think they will save a lot of money from their electric bill. But the cost of construction and maintenance will be an added burden to our already deep national debt, which will be paid for by our very own citizens for generations to come.
With the executive order 116, s.2020, we hope that any future study conducted will be transparent, honest, and non-partisan. Neither will it be self-serving nor for the benefit of a particular person or a certain group. The so-called feasibility study will not be geared neither for profit nor for any personal gain.
As a point of reference, take into serious consideration the findings of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom) about the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. on April04, 2018. His Excellency, the Russian Ambassador Igor Khovaev, declares that its revival is “not possible at all.” He authoritatively concluded that the plant is “absolutely outdated.”
The Diocese of Balanga has issued a pastoral statement dated August 16, 2014 declaring that “Bataan Nuclear Power Plant is not the answer to the present need of our people. No one is safe with BNPP. It will only bring devastation and destruction of lives and of the environment. It is not beneficial to everyone nor a blessing to our country.”
Let us not be hasty, especially when the risk or danger outweighs the benefit. If there should be a feasibility study, it must be the use and application of renewable energy such as solar, water or wind , as we have seen in Ilocos Region, the Bangui Wind Farm, which supplies forty percent of Ilocos Norte’s electricity needs.
And so with the proposal of feasibility of inclusion of nuclear energy to our country, we ask not only “why? or why now?” but more so, “why not renewable energy?”
Bishop of Balanga
Chairman, CBCP Episcopal Commission on PCF