Greenpeace blasts Pangasinan resolution on nuclear plants

Points to Renewable Energy as safer, less expensive, and already available

Feature story - February 18, 2010
Greenpeace today urged government leaders to stand fast against the machinations of nuclear energy peddlers, and instead move for the immediate adoption of energy efficiency measures and the fast deployment of renewable energy sources which, it points out, are less expensive, safer, and already available. The call was made following a hastily approved Provincial Resolution in Pangasinan that could potentially open up the province to the construction of two new nuclear power plants.

Greenpeace volunteers raise banners and attach pinwheels by the gate of the Philippine House of Representatives in Quezon City, as policemen watch the peaceful protest.

Pangasinan Rep. Mark Cojuangco, whose bill to rehabilitate the moth-balled Bataan Nuclear Power Plant was not able to pass in the 14th Congress, convinced the Provincial Board to "invite" the South Korean government to build two nuclear power plants in the province. South Korea gave the Philippine government a deadline of one week to submit a letter of intent, so an ad hoc committee was formed by the Pangasinan Provincial Board to swiftly approve a resolution. Board members admitted that the resolution was passed pending any thorough review or scientific study on the viability or feasibility of the location of the plants.[1]  Cojuangco's family owns the San Miguel Energy Corporation (SMEC), which is rapidly expanding its businesses in energy development and now also owns the Sual coal-fired power plant in Pangasinan, one of the biggest point sources of carbon emissions in the country .

"The intent of the resolution, and the speed with which it was decided upon is highly dubious," said Amalie Obusan, climate and energy campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia. "Nuclear plants are grotesquely capital intensive and expensive at almost all stages of its development.  Nuclear energy is not clean, not safe and not cheap.  In fact, it is probably the most dangerous and expensive power source there is.  The issue on nuclear waste disposal remains unresolved globally and it is highly unlikely that a viable solution will be forthcoming.  We find it extremely alarming that the decision to submit a letter of intent on hosting nuclear facilities that could potentially have disastrous consequences for future generations was given just a week, without wider consultations."

Obusan points out that provinces must instead focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency. The Greenpeace report "Energy [R]evolution: A Sustainable Philippine Energy Outlook" charts a concrete plan that will provide the country with secure and affordable energy without sacrificing economic development.  The report shows that renewable energy can provide as much as 57% of the Philippines' energy needs by 2030 and as much as 70% by 2050 with "new" renewables such as wind, solar, biomass and geothermal energy contributing 58% of this capacity.[2]

"We shouldn't let self-serving businessmen ram nuclear energy into the public's throats. People like Mark Cojuangco will only get to line their pockets with money from the people, who will be paying with their own blood, sweat, tears, health and probably even their lives and those of their children," Obusan adds. "Clean, honest, responsible public servants should come out and show these self-serving politicians, who are only after influence, power and money, what real leadership is made of."

Notes [1] Pangasinan Provincial Board members Alfonso Bince, Jr. and Raul Sison, in media interviews. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/regions/view/20100216-253611/Pangasinan-board-OKs-2-nuke-plants [2] A copy of the Report is available online and may be downloaded: http://www.greenpeace.org/raw/content/international/press/reports/energy-revolution-a-sustainab.pdf

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