BNPP Bill 'sneaky,' out to create nuclear power program - Greenpeace plants tombstone at House of Representatives

Feature story - February 2, 2009
Greenpeace today exposed that the House Bill proposing to revive the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant is part of a sneaky and underhanded attempt to railroad the establishment of a national commercial nuclear power program in the Philippines. According to Greenpeace, the costs outlined in a Bill filed by Cong. Mark Cojuangco and signed by 130 representatives are not merely for the rehabilitation and commissioning of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant(BNPP), but include appropriations that effectively lay the foundation for a complete nuclear program.

A Greenpeace activist places flowers at a "tombstone" with the words "R.I.P. BNPP" in front of the Philippine House of Representatives in Quezon City. The activity is 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 Greenpeace contends is grotesquely expensive and based on faulty economics.

Greenpeace activists keep watch in front of the Philippine House of Representatives in Quezon City after planting an 8-foot tall tombstone with the words "R.I.P. BNPP" at the entrance of Congress compound. The activity is 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 Greenpeace contends is grotesquely expensive and based on faulty economics.

Greenpeace activists keep watch in front of the Philippine House of Representatives in Quezon City after planting an 8-foot tall tombstone with the words "R.I.P. BNPP" at the entrance of Congress compound. The activity is 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 Greenpeace contends is grotesquely expensive and based on faulty economics.

Greenpeace presented the assertions at the Bill's hearing at the House Committee on Appropriations as more than 30 volunteers planted 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 Greenpeace contends is grotesquely expensive and based on faulty economics.

"Greenpeace is calling for an end to the farce that is House Bill 4631. This is not a bill that seeks the revival of the BNPP alone, but a bill that seeks to create the country's nuclear power program. As such, the one billion USD eyed to revive the BNPP should not be the only point of contention for any budget appropriation for this legislation, but also the implied future costs of an entire national nuclear power program, including the possible commissioning of subsequent nuclear plants to justify the program's existence, which presents a much greater and sustained drain on the country's financial resources on top of

the upfront cost of the BNPP rehabilitation itself," said Greenpeace Southeast Asia Executive Director Von Hernandez.

"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," he added.

Greenpeace has been protesting the House Bill which seeks to immediately allocate funds not only for BNPP's rehabilitation and the framework within which nuclear power will operate in the country. Based on the said Bill, these costs will be shouldered by Filipino taxpayers. The Bill hurdled the Energy Committee last mid-January despite strong opposition by green groups and the Catholic Church, as well as flaws in the bill itself, reinforcing the belief that the Bill's proponents are out to railroad the controversial legislation. "The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant is already dead. It is a waste of the people's time and money trying to revive such an outdated, expensive and dangerous facility. The overwhelming safety and security reasons behind why the BNPP was mothballed remain just as valid and unassailable today. Our lawmakers should heed reason and let the BNPP rest in peace," said Greenpeace Southeast Asia Climate and Energy Campaigner Amalie Obusan.

"The government should instead focus on massively expanding our renewable energy capacity and promoting energy efficiency standards and technologies. Renewable energy is the cheapest, safest source of power available, aside from being a key solution to energy security and climate change. Moreover, our potential for renewable energy in the Philippines is vast and far greater than that of nuclear power or fossil fuels," she added.

Note: Greenpeace position paper on House Bill 4631 and Senate Bill No. 2665, and other materials available at http://www.greenpeace.org/raw/content/seasia/assets/binaries/nukes-position-paper.pdf

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