Nuclear experts from Russia and other countries visited the mothballed 620-megawatt Bataan Nuclear Power Plant Wednesday to start a study on repowering the facility.
The Energy Department said it held an ocular lecture with experts from Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corp. and two other nuclear organizations who were in the country to make a preliminary assessment on the viability of rehabilitating the nuclear plant.
The Energy Department’ Nuclear Energy Program Implementing Organization headed by Undersecretary Donato Marcos along with representatives from the Philippine Nuclear Power Institute and National Power Corp. held a kick-off meeting in Bataan with representatives from Russia’s Rosatom, Slovenia’s Gen Enerjia and Australia’s Worley Parsons.
“The activity will define the scope of work for the pre-feasibilty study of the possible rehabilitation of BNPP,” the department said in a statement.
The study is being provided by Rosatom for free as a part of the cooperation between the Philippines and Russia.
“Seven working groups have been established that will undertake the study that will last for two months starting the middle of September,” the department said.
The government announced in April a possible cooperation with Russia for nuclear power development.
Aside from Russia, other countries like China also expressed interest in the Bataan nuclear facility, which had not operated for the past 30 years, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said earlier.
Cusi said putting up a nuclear facility would likely need an incentive scheme. “If nuclear, it cannot be merchant so we might have to put something for a new project just like we did with the renewables such as priority dispatch,” he said.
The Philippines earlier expressed openness on the use of nuclear energy in power generation but has yet to issue a national policy.
President Rodrigo Duterte gave the go signal to Cusi to study nuclear as an option for the country’s long-term power requirements.
Cusi issued Department Order DO2016-10-0013 creating NEIPO that will produce a comprehensive study and prepare a national infrastructure for the first nuclear power plant.
Cusi said if repowering the Bataan nuclear power plant proved not feasible, the Philippines could look into using modular or smaller sized nuclear facilities.
“We can be cautious. We can move with caution so we can start with modular. We have to listen to the experts,” he said.
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