Scientists advise against BNPP

QUEZON CITY — Warning of a P20 billion nuclear tax and more loans, progressive scientists group AGHAM or the Samahan ng Nagtataguyod ng Agham at Teknolohiya para sa Sambayanan called on Congress to develop other energy sources instead of the Bataan nuclear power plant (BNPP).

“The projected shortage in 2012 can be addressed by building geothermal, hydro power, natural gas, wind, and solar power plants even without the operation of the nuclear plant in Bataan if only government builds the necessary indicative capacity additions and develop and upgrade exisiting power plants,” Dr. Giovanni Tapang, national chairperson of AGHAM, told the House Committee on Appropriations today.

Quoting figures from the various updates of the Philippine Energy Plan from the DOE on their website, the physicist pointed out that instead of looking at nuclear power to supply the projected energy needs, government only has to realize that most of the energy resources they auctioned could have provided the Philippines cheap and renewable energy.

“The Philippines has many available energy resources from hydrowater, geothermal, natural gas, wind and solar sources but these have been all put to sale by the government to private independent power producers (IPPs)”, Dr. Tapang said.

He further noted that the proposed bill would pass on the cost to ordinary consumers as a de facto nuclear tax of P 0.10 per kilowatt hour of the total electric power generated in the country. According to figures from the DOE website, the total electric power sales in 2007 is 48,009 GigaWatt hours (1,000,000,000 or billion watt-hour) or 48,009 million kilowatt hours. AGHAM computed that this translates to a nuclear tax of around 4 billion pesos per year or US$100 M per year to be imposed on electric consumers.  For five years the total would be 20 billion pesos.

“That is an extra 10 centavos per kwh more on your bill. If one consumes 300 kwh per month, you would have to pay an additional of 30 pesos (no VAT yet) per month for that nuclear tax or a total of 1800 pesos for five years.”, said Dr. Tapang The remaining 500 Million USD balance from the projected one billion dollar cost is to be obtained by entering into international or domestic loan agreements.

“Despite this cap on a billion dollars for the combined surcharge and loan, delays and interest repayments can drive this higher and become a new burden for the Filipino people”, Tapang added.

“The projected peak demand for 2012 should be recomputed to include the effects of the global economic crisis and recession. There should be a second look at these growth projections. Furthermore, having a stable or even a surplus of electricity capacity does not necessarily translate to lower energy costs. In recent years when we had an energy oversupply, power rates have still gone up due to one sided contracts and the pass on provisions of EPIRA”, pointed out the AGHAM chairperson.

“Passing this bill would make the operation of the BNPP a fait accompli despite the absence of studies on the actual safety of the plant after 20 years of non-operation, on its site location, its long term economic viability with regard to the risks associated with the plant,” Tapang concluded.

AGHAM is part of the Network Opposed to BNPP Revival (NO 2 BNPP Revival) – a broad alliance of scientists, environmentalists, experts and multi-sectoral formations opposed to the revival of the BNPP as it is not the answer to climate change nor will it address the energy crisis. # Vincent Michael L. Borneo


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