By Senator Francis 'Tol Tolentino
Electric power has undeniably become a basic need for the modern man. This energy source has truly revolutionized human life in countless ways and our dependence on electricity to power up homes, offices, transportation, communication, and businesses, among numerous other facets of life, is clear and undeniable.
Sadly, however, our country remains saddled with unreliable supply and spiralling costs of electricity. With the demand for electric power increasing steadily as a result of population and community growth, our government is seriously considering nuclear energy as a highly potent solution to address our long-standing issues on electricity supply and generation.
The general bias on nuclear energy resulting from the horrors of the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear power plant tragedies has long stalled the development of this type of energy source. In the Philippines, for instance, the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant fell into deep sleep for many years because of issues on the safety, cleanliness and costs of harnessing nuclear power. However, with options to resolve our power crisis seemingly inadequate, the need to seek alternative energy sources to mitigate the impacts of power surges and shortages has become truly urgent.
Nuclear energy may be a viable option for us, not only to meet the country’s need for stable electric power supply, but for many other nuclear energy applications. Next to hydropower, nuclear energy is regarded as the second largest source of clean and eco-friendly energy. If the direction shared by communities of the world is toward transitioning into carbon-free energy, then utilizing nuclear power is one, if not the best, option.
The gradual increase in awareness, understating and appreciation of nuclear energy in the country is affirmed by the increasing support for its utilization. Research and study on the use of nuclear energy to drive growth and development have been conclusive and extensive. The advent of more sophisticated technology on nuclear energy generation and its conversion to other energy forms has, without a doubt, contributed to the efforts all over the world to make amends with and rehabilitate nature. The shared goal is sustainability. A viable tool is nuclear energy.
Thus, the introduction of small modular reactors or SMRs, which are compact and much cheaper nuclear facilities that can be installed in far and remote places, are worth looking into.
American firm NuScale Power Corp. has recently proposed to President Bongbong Marcos to manufacture these SMRs for the Philippines for $7.5 million. This project will be a joint venture with Enrique Razon's Prime Infrastructure Capital Inc.
While I find some optimism in the use of these modular nuclear reactors to produce electricity in the Philippines, the Department of Energy still needs to do a careful study to ensure the utilization of nuclear energy in this method is safe and sound. (Sponsored content)
Senator Francis 'Tol Tolentino (Contributed photo)
May 22, 2023
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