Presidential candidates must come clean on nuclear energy: Greenpeace

Feature story - February 4, 2010
Greenpeace today called upon all presidential candidates and other political aspirants to make public their stand on nuclear energy and declare their plans and policies on energy sourcing, especially with the threat of el niño compounding the energy problem in the coming months.

Volunteers of Greenpeace, Livestrong and Firefly Brigade leave Morong, Bataan 180 kilometers west of Manila, during the start of the “Energy Revolution Bike Ride" to oppose the proposed revival of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.

The 14th Congress closed yesterday (February 3) without passing the proposed bill to rehabilitate the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP), as Congress adjourned due to a lack of quorum. The BNPP bill, authored by Pangasinan Representative Mark Cojuangco, was supposed to be on this last session's agenda, among other bills that would now need to again be filed with the next (15th) Congress. Cojuangco's bill did not have a counterpart bill in the Senate.

 With the recent submission of a report to the National Power Corporation  (Napocor) by the Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) that US$1 billion  is needed to rehabilitate BNPP,  Greenpeace is urging government to instead channel valuable financing and  other resources, as well as policies, to renewable energy (RE), which it points out is safer, reliable, and already available.

"We need to find out who among the Presidential candidates will champion renewable energy, and who will insist on resurrecting a dangerous energy source," said Mark Dia, Deputy Campaign Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia. "The DOE  (Department of Energy) signed just last Monday 112 new RE project contracts, worth US$1.5 billion, which just goes to show that opportunities for clean energy sources abound and just continue to wait in the sidelines for their chance to be harnessed."

"It's ironic that we already have a very progressive RE law, which other countries  are trying to emulate, and yet government in its implementation still leans more toward giving concessions for risky,  unclean energy sources like coal and nuclear," Dia added.

Greenpeace recommends that candidates take the following, indisputable facts into account in their platforms: 1)Nuclear power is the most dangerous way to generate electricity, there is also no known scientific solution to safely storing plutonium, its deadly radioactive waste-product which remains radiotoxic for 200,000 years; 2) it is the most expensive source of power: aside from pricey construction costs, nuclear power involves expenses for decommissioning, as well as storage for nuclear waste, each of which can cost as much as a new power plant; 3) it cannot solve climate change--the contribution it can potentially make is negligible, especially if you consider that the processing of uranium as fuel uses so much electricity, and 4) importing more fuel, in this case uranium, is not the way to achieve energy security.

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