Greenpeace today warned that Congress is off to speed up the passage of the Bataan Nuclear Plant revival bill regardless of serious social and environmental costs, and are using myths and abusing scientific data to support their bid.
In a press conference in Quezon City, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Executive Director Von Hernandez and geologist Dr. Kelvin Rodolfo, Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Adjunct Professor at the University of the Philippines’ National Institute for Geological Sciences disproved claims by Congressmen Mark Cojuangco and Mikee Arroyo that the mothballed 30 year old Bataan Nuclear Power Plant will yield, clean, safe and inexpensive energy. Cong. Mark Cojuangco, whose family’s business interests include energy, is the author of a House Bill filed July last year seeking to revive the BNPP. House Bill 4631 has already hurdled the House Committee on Energy headed by Cong. Mikee Arroyo, and is currently in the Committee on Appropriations, whose report, according to Arroyo, is expected by mid-February.
“Nuclear energy is not clean, not safe and not cheap. In fact, it is probably the most dangerous and expensive power source there is. To say otherwise is to endorse patent falsehoods for the benefit of the nuclear industry. Greenpeace finds the intent of the bill, as well as the seeming haste with which it is being pushed in Congress highly questionable,” said Hernandez.
“The one billion USD  eyed to fund this project which will come from the pockets of ordinary Filipinos will be better spent on safe and cheap renewable energy. And if there must be haste, it should be for the finalization of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Renewable Energy Act, the real solution to energy security and climate change, which in contrast, sat in the Congress for more than a decade before it was passed,” he added.
Greenpeace asserts that nuclear plants are grotesquely capital intensive and expensive at almost all stages of its development. Historically, nuclear construction projects consistently run over budget, so even the 1 Billion USD projected cost for BNPP’s rehabilitation can be exceeded. The plant will also make the country dependent on imported uranium, a resource found only in a few countries. There are further costs for spent fuel storage and security, and should an accident occur, massive costs for evacuation, relocation of communities, health costs, aside from the repair of the plant and the rehabilitation of surroundings. From previous experience of nuclear disasters, these costs amount to hundreds of billions of dollars for a period of decades.
Dr. Kelvin Rodolfo whose study on fault lines and volcanic activity in the area was cited by Cojuangco in the Bill also refuted claims by the congressman that the location of the BNPP is safe. According to Rodolfo, the BNPP is situated on Mt. Natib, a dormant volcano which constitutes the entire northern half of the Bataan peninsula. “People who are eager to reactivate the BNPP are dangerously misrepresenting scientific data. Given the burden the revival of the BNPP poses to all Filipinos, the government owes it to its citizens to vigorously, openly, and thoroughly explore all the ramifications of such a risky energy source,” said Dr. Rodolfo.(PinoyPress)