BUSAN, South Korea – The Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co., Ltd. (KHNP) is offering the Philippine government a training program for nuclear professionals to prepare the country should it decide to activate its nuclear power assets.
A senior official of KHNP’s Overseas Business Development Department said in a recent interview that the training program will be included in the roadmap which is part of the feasibility study the firm is conducting for the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).
KHNP, the largest power generator in Korea, is a long-time partner of the Philippines on energy-related activities, having led the feasibility studies for the safe use of the Bataan nuclear power plant and the Cagayan Eco Zone.
“It's a priority of the feasibility study. We are trying to establish a roadmap, that's why we want to do it together with the DOE (Department of Energy) so that both parties understand what we need to actually run a plant in the Philippines safely,” she said.
The executive said the program will include classroom training, which will take around eight to nine months, job training, and shadow training that can be done while the BNPP is undergoing rehabilitation.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. had expressed interest in pursuing nuclear technology and other energy cooperation platforms with South Korea.
In February this year, the Korean power firm offered to revive the BNPP within five years for a cost of USD 1.19 billion.
Last July 19, Philippine Ambassador to South Korea Ma. Theresa Dizon-De Vega met with KHNP executives to discuss future Philippines-Republic of Korea (ROK) cooperation on nuclear technology and renewable energy.
Should the Philippine government revive the BNPP, the KHNP senior official said the nuclear power plant may need 300 workers.
“The Bataan nuclear plant has not operated for 40 years, so you lost so much touch in nuclear professionals. Government should be more involved, you don’t want to lose touch of the professionals in the long term,” she added.
She said KHNP has done the same training program in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) when it built the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant - UAE’s first nuclear power plant.
A Korean nuclear engineer at the Kori Nuclear Power Site also shared that there are Filipino workers in the UAE nuclear power facility, mostly mechanical engineers and operators, but not nuclear engineers.
KHNP and the Korea Nuclear Association for International Cooperation invited Philippine News Agency (PNA) and Philippine Daily Inquirer reporters to visit the Kori Nuclear Power Site, which is an identical nuclear facility to BNPP.
The reporters were part of the 2023 International Journalists Invitation Program of the Korean Culture and Information Services from Sept. 18-22. (PNA)