Polintan said Cojuangco’s proposal is “courting disaster”, stressing that the operation of the power plant poses grave danger to life and environment, and is unacceptable to the people of Central Luzon.
Noting that the plant sits right on an active volcano, Polintan warned that any seismic activity might cause it to explode.
Polintan’s claim is supported by scientists who categorized Mt. Natib as “potentially active.” In their paper, Dr. Ernesto Sonido, formerly geophysics professor of the National Institute of Geological Sciences (NIGS) at the University of the Philippines, and Mr. Jesse Umbal, who obtained his masters’ degree at the University of Illinois found Mt. Natib to be a “caldera-forming” volcano, a type which “characteristically has very powerful eruptions separated by long repose periods.”
Dr. Kelvin Rodolfo, a professor at the NIGS in UP Diliman said, “Natib volcano does not erupt very often but could still erupt. As a rough rule of thumb, the longer a volcano is in repose, the more time it has to store eruptive energy.”
Polintan said, “We will not allow a Three Mile Island or a Chernobyl disaster to happen in the Philippines, particularly in Central Luzon.”
The Three Mile Island accident occurred on March 28, 1979 at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station in Pennsylvania, United States. An estimated 43,000 curies of radioactive krypton were released when the pilot-operated relief valve did not close when the pressure on the primary system decreased. Although no deaths or injuries resulted, it is considered as the most serious accident in US commercial nuclear power plant operating history.
The Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear reactor accident in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Soviet Union. It resulted in a severe release of radioactive elements into the environment. The overall cost of the disaster is estimated at $200 billion.
Polintan added that the BNPP suffers from a grossly defective design made worse by the ravages of time.
In 1979, a commission created by then Pres. Ferdinand Marcos conducted an investigation on all issues surrounding the construction of the BNPP. The findings of the commission revealed that the power plant had an old design plagued with unresolved safety issues.
Polintan said further it is a “folly to try to revive the mothballed plant when nuclear power generation is already being discarded all over the world because it is an extremely hazardous and outmoded technology.”