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Why Nuclear Power is Not the Answer

David D;Agelo, Boses ng Kalikasan sa Senado Opposes Nuclear Power Use

Nuclear Power is not the only answer to the looming energy crisis in the Philippines for there are other sources of clean and renewable energy that are far safer. We should learn from the experiences of Chernobyl and Fukushima that the risk and impact of a meltdown will last for generations and might not be a risk worth taking for the Philippines.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s signing of Executive Order (EO) 164 effectively includes the potential of nuclear power in the country’s energy mix. Released on Thursday, EO 164 was signed by the Chief Executive last February 28. According to Undersecretary Gerardo Erguiza Jr. in a press conference. “This policy is the start of the national nuclear power program.”

New nuclear power costs about 5 times more than onshore wind power per kWh. Nuclear takes 5 to 17 years longer between planning and operation and produces on average 23 times the emissions per unit electricity generated. In addition, it creates risk and cost associated with weapons proliferation, meltdown, mining lung cancer, and waste risks. Clean, renewables avoid all such risks.

The 7 reasons why nuclear energy is not the answer to solve climate change, 26 April 2021 by Mark Z. Jacobson

I would like to reiterate however that the signing of the EO came at a time when the president is just about to end his term and a consultation seems to be absent or there is none that I knew about. My opposition to the prospect of nuclear energy emanates from four reasons:

  1. It generates radioactive waste that cannot be extinguished and is very dangerous.
  2. We are prone to natural disasters and man made.
  3. We do not have the scientific capacity to maintain and make it because we had neglected this sector for a very long time
  4. The climate crisis which is worsening is not conducive to such technology especially with the release of the latest IPPC Report last February 28.

If we are to solve the energy crisis, it should greatly involve a paradigm shift in how we implement power generation. There are tons of other alternatives including solar, wind, tidal, mini-hydro, and geothermal among others. Shifting of power generation is also needed by focusing on the development of community grid power generation run by the local community through a cooperative. Through this new system of power generation, electricity needs at the local level can be sustained and maintained more effectively rather than consolidating everything at the national level.

I do understand the worry of everyone with Malampaya greatly in danger of its power output by 2024, the main question is what would replace the contribution of this big power source? The fact should also be considered that though the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) in Morong, Bataan seems to be up and ready, the truth is it needs rehabilitation and will take USD3 billion to USD4 billion to rehabilitate it and 2-4 years to make it fully functional.

We should be learning from the lessons of Chernobyl and Fukushima and understand that while the output capacity of nuclear power might be enormous, the risk that comes with it is far greater. You would say that there might be emerging technologies that lower the risk of disaster or even of radioactive waste but these technologies are far from being fully developed.

“Nuclear energy while it is not a major contributor to climate change poses more danger to humanity than any kind of calamity or disaster known,”

Philippine Movement for Climate Justice

The Future of Nuclear Energy

There is a new technology however which can replace the current nuclear power technology and this is NUCLEAR FUSION TECHNOLOGY,

“Operating the power plants of the future based on fusion would produce no greenhouse gases and only very small amounts of short-lived radioactive waste.”

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