nuclear-explosionMANILA, Philippines – The Freedom from Debt Coalition today asked President Benigno S. Aquino III to drop all options of tapping nuclear power as a solution to the country’s power generation problems.

The group issued the statement following two massive explosions that rocked Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant which was damaged in Friday’s 8.9 magnitude earthquake and its consequent devastating tsunami. Japanese officials, according to reports, are struggling to contain radioactive contamination.

FDC also issued the statement after Pangasinan Rep. Kimi Conjuangco voluntarily shelved her proposed bill to revive the controversial $2.3-billion Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).

Ric Reyes, FDC President, said that with Japan’s terrifying experience with their nuclear energy systems, “all attempts at reviving the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant must be quashed and the nuclear option indicated in the government’s economic blueprint junked.”  

“We should learn from Japan,” Reyes said, adding that the Philippines and Japan are situated on the edges of the Pacific Ring of Fire. “In fact, a tectonic plate between the Philippines and Japan is named after our country – The Philippine Sea Plate or simply, the Filipino Plate.”

According to FDC, the Aquino administration is still considering nuclear energy as reflected in the draft Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP), the government’s economic blueprint which identifies growth sectors for the next six years.

Under Chapter 4 (2.2) of the draft MTPDP 2011-2017, the government will pursue the strategy of alternative technologies in power generation such as nuclear power.

“The Aquino administration must remove this section of the blueprint,” Reyes stressed.

Aside from this, one other evidence that the government is seriously pursuing nuclear energy prospects is the presentation last year of Mauro Marcelo of the National Power Corporation who even identified eleven possible sites for a new nuclear power plant.

“What made this government think that a nuclear plant is safe from tremors in Cavite, Negros or Zamboanga?" asked Reyes. “We should consider the fact that even Japanese technology, one of the most advanced in the world, failed to prevent the breaking down of its cooling plants and to avoid possible nuclear meltdown. Indeed, no amount of modern technology can withstand extreme natural disasters,” he added. (30)

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