Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (File photo)

MANILA – President Rodrigo R. Duterte is hopeful that the next administration would explore nuclear energy as an alternative energy source in the Philippines.

In a prerecorded Talk to the People aired Monday night, Duterte said the next administration must study nuclear power because the Philippines, which depends on imported crude oil, is vulnerable to the effects of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.

“I hope that the next administration would at least explore now the possibility of itong nuclear...Tutal ang nagumpisa nito noon si Marcos. Nagpagawa siya ng nuclear plant. (nuclear energy…After all, this started during the time of Marcos. He established a nuclear plant),” he said.

Duterte was referring to the controversial Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) in Morong, Bataan, a project of former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. which was never used because of safety and corruption issues.

“You know oil is not infinite, may katapusan ‘yan (It has an end). Someday it will dry up, it will be good for any government to prepare the possibility of making the transition from oil, yung (to) fossil fuel, to nuclear,” he added.

He, however, acknowledged that reviving the BNPP could also spell trouble such as the 1986 explosion and fire at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine that released large amounts of radioactive material into the atmosphere.

“Kaya lang medyo delikado ‘to (But it is quite dangerous). You know kagaya ng sa (just like the) Chernobyl ng (of) Ukraine nagkaroon ng (there was a) leak and so there was this radiation. Mabuti na lang (Thankfully) all nations contributed to the control or fixing the Chernobyl including Russia, which is now attacking Ukraine,” he said.

In February, Duterte signed Executive Order No. 164, which would establish a nuclear energy program for the Philippines.

The EO, which outlined the national government’s position on a nuclear energy program, takes into account economic, political, social, and environmental objectives.

It also mandates the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop and implement the Nuclear Energy Program as part of the Philippine Energy Plan, and coordinate with and assist the Nuclear Energy Program-Inter-Agency Committee (NEP-IAC) in performing its functions.

Earlier, presumptive President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., son and namesake of Marcos Sr., said he was looking into reviving the mothballed nuclear power plant.

He said the BNPP was ordered shut "not because of any scientific reason" but "for politics." (PNA)