May 092013
Despite the power outage that hit Luzon last Wednesday, the Department of Energy is not keen on reviving the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant to shore up the country’s energy reserves.

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla on Thursday evening said the BNPP lacks the capacity to meet present-day demand levels for energy, and may have safety problems if it is upgraded.

“During that time (1970s), I would say dati (ang power capacity natin) mga 5,000 to 6,000 megawatts. Ngayon itong plant na ito is 400 megawatts. ‘Pag ikaw nagdagdag ng 400 megawatts sa 5,000 megawatts, napakalaking bagay. Ngayon, ang 400 megawatts parang balewala kung 16,000 megawatts ang present capacity, katiting na lang,” Petilla said in an interview on dzBB.

Today, figures from the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines shows the demand for energy in Luzon alone is already 8,567 megawatts, more than 20 times the BNPP’s 400 megawatts.

Petilla said they are aware of suggestions from some sectors to revive the BNPP, which was mothballed after the 1986 EDSA Revolution.

He said the plant had been paid for and needs only the reactors to run.

Yet, he said that if it were to be useful, it should be upgraded to have a capacity of 2,000 megawatts.

“Ang problema, ang nuclear power plant na ito luma na… So wala nang cost benefit…. Kung 400 megawatts, napakaliit ng capacity at napakalaki ng risk,” he said.

The DOE earlier said it is taking steps to prevent a repeat of Wednesday’s power outage, especially with the May 13 midterm elections just days away.

Large parts of Metro Manila and nearby provinces in Luzon went without power for several hours. Some areas still experienced outages Thursday. — LBG, GMA News

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