The Folly of BNPP and Nuclear Power

This reaffirmed the Puno Commission’s report in 1980 that warned of these flaws. The Puno Commission had made the following conclusions:

* The BNPP is not safe;
* It is an old design plagued with unresolved safety issues, thus it is a potential hazard to the health and safety of the public;
* Its design needs fundamental changes and additional safeguards;
* Its safety is not assured because no safety devices were installed;
* The crucial problem of nuclear waste disposal had not been solved.

These safety issues were never really addressed or resolved by the contractor Westinghouse after both the Puno Commission and Dr. Pollard had pointed them out, as shown by later technical audits of the BNPP in the post-Marcos era.

Dr.Kelvin Rodolfo, a noted geologist and Professor Emeritus from the University of Illinois has recently warned that, based on his scientific studies published in International Science Index journals, the BNPP “sits on Mt. Natib, which is a caldera volcano like Mt. Pinatubo”, and that numerous faults of Mt. Natib were found to be extended to Morong, Bataan. Undoubtedly, the BNPP was a man-made financial disaster, so let us not make it into a national disaster.

Risks of nuclear power

Humankind continues to pay an enormous health and environmental price for the development of nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons in many parts of the world. Diseases related to the “invisible poison” of radioactive contamination not only from previous nuclear plant accidents/leakages, and weapons testing but also from the so-called peaceful uses of nuclear energy in power plants haunt the victims who suffer from radiation-related diseases. Even countries that pride themselves with being at the forefront of nuclear technology have thousands of citizens who are suffering from diseases related to “low-level radiation.”

What then is the alternative? We have just approved the Renewable Energy Act of 2008, so let us go on with it instead of distracting ourselves with new projects like the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant commissioning that, because of its costs, will only lead to more questionable contracts and further drain our country’s coffers. Some have suggested that the BNPP be aptly converted into a “never again” Museum on the Folly and Corruption of the Marcos dictatorship.

The safety and welfare of the people can better be assured with alternative sources of energy which exclude nuclear options in our energy mix. We should be tapping nature’s bountiful energy sources, especially the sun and water, energy from wind, waves, tides, oceans, earth (geothermal) , biomass conversion, and many others. Alternative power sources especially from nature can liberate us from foreign energy sources whether it is oil or uranium – the fuel for nuclear power plants. Alternative power sources from nature’s bountiful energy sources can provide most of our energy needs, together with energy-saving technology at the supply side. It only requires that the nation and its leaders make the political decision to develop rapidly and expand these renewable, safe, and clean energy sources.

But evidently, some people are again aiming to corner this gargantuan contract at the expense of the safety and health of the Filipino people.Posted by(

*This Issue Analysis was written by Prof. Roland G, Simbulan. A Senior Fellow of CenPEG, Simbulan was the former National Chairperson of the Nuclear Free-Philippines Coalition (NFPC). He is currently Full Professor in Development Studies and Public Management at the University of the Philippines.

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