Knee jerk move? Duterte signs EO to study revival of Bataan nuclear plant

President Rodrigo Duterte has included nuclear power in the country’s energy sources with just three months left in his term.
Duterte issued Executive Order 164 putting in place a nuclear energy program as part of the energy mix, with an order to take on a fresh study as to whether or not the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) can still be serviceable despite being left idle for decades.
The BNPP is supposed to be a legacy project of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Sr. but was never put to use amid twin fears about a nuclear disaster similar to the Fukushima and Chernobyl wipeouts.
“We thank the President for seeing merit in the DOE’s recommendation to consider 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,” Secretary Alfonso Cusi said in a statement.
However, DOE Undersecretary Gerpy Erguiza knows they have little time to get anything started.
“EO 164 opens the door for the next administration to tap this resource to support our ever-growing energy needs in the years ahead,” he added.
Erguiza said 2027 is the earliest time for a new nuclear plant to be built if ever the policy is pursued, saying there’s a need to put together a legal framework first via Congress.
Duterte’s move comes amid rising oil prices in the world market due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.