"The nuclear industry has hitched a ride on the climate change bandwagon, proclaiming that nuclear power will solve the world’s global warming and energy problems in one sweeping “nuclear renaissance.” As you might expect, there’s a catch. Nuclear energy faces escalating capital costs, a radioactive waste backlog, security and insurance gaps, nuclear weapons proliferation, and expensive reactor decommissioning that will magnify the waste problem."
- Rex Weyler
It wasn't ancient history when the image of my then 3-year old nephew sporting a 'No Nukes' button, was something that puzzled my relatives. That was during the late-1980s, I was grade 2 at the time and my nephew's parent's were part of the broad movement of concerned Filipinos who opposed the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).
Flashback - BNPP
It was during the administration of the late President Marcos that the construction of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) started in 1977 at Napot site in Morong, Bataan, nine kilometers from the volcano Mt. Natib situated between the Philippine Fault and the West Luzon Fault, at a cost of US$2.2 billion.
After the 1979 Three Mile Island accident in the US, the BNPP construction was immediately stopped. An inquiry on the plant's safety revealed 4,000 defects. "...Mr. Marcos and his nuclear advisers may well be long remembered for having put up the most expensive and dangerous nuclear power plant in the world, thereby saddling present and future generations of Filipinos with enormous foreign loans...," according to former Senator Lorenzo Tanada, on August 6, 1983.
Marcos was overthrown by the People Power Revolution in 1986. Days after the April 1986 Chernobyl disaster, the succeeding administration of President Corazon Aquino decided not to operate the plant. Among other considerations taken were the strong opposition from Bataan residents and Philippine citizens.
The newly installed Aquino administration decided to "mothball" the plant, pursue court action against Westinghouse, and form a Cabinet Committee on the BNPP to study options and alternatives. Government's decision to "mothball" the BNPP was a victory for the people of Bataan and for the coalition that worked on the issue, the victory against the BNPP also paved the way for still another coalition to take on the struggle for the removal of US military bases in the Philippines.
R.I.P. - BNPP
Today, we stand here again at the front of the Philippine House of Representatives with an 8-foot tall tombstone with the words "R.I.P. BNPP" at the entrance of the Philippine House of Representatives compound in Batasan Hills. The activity was meant to send a message to lawmakers not to revive the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant and not to pursue the path of nuclear power which we contend is grotesquely expensive and based on faulty economics.
"The BNPP's tainted history is already a hard lesson on how the pursuit of nuclear power has been a gargantuan and unjust burden on Filipinos. Even now, with moves for its revival heralding what appears to be aggressive plans for a national nuclear program, nuclear power may become the altar upon which this country will bankrupt itself."
Von Hernandez, Greenpeace Southeast Asia
Later I dugged-up our old tape deck and listened to a cassette tape entitled - No Nukes: The Muse Concerts For a Non-Nuclear Future – a 1979 triple live album that contained selections from the September 1979 Madison Square Garden concerts by the Musicians United for Safe Energy collective, with Jackson Browne, Graham Nash, Bonnie Raitt, and John Hall being the key organizers of the event and guiding forces behind the album.
As I listened a line from Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'" (as performed by James Taylor, Carly Simon and Graham Nash), caught my fancy. The line says:
"Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call..."
- Chuck Baclagon