BNPP to count among world’s most dangerous nuclear plants if operated--Greenpeace

Press release - February 26, 2009
The outdated, light water Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) will count among the world’s most dangerous nuclear power plants if operated, Greenpeace revealed in a press conference in Quezon City today. In a talk entitled 'The dubious safety of nuclear power,' the environment group asserted that the BNPP, a Westinghouse manufactured light water reactor, does not conform to the current safety fundamentals of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), making the inherently dangerous facility even more risky.

"Nuclear power remains as dangerous as ever that even the safety standards of the IAEA are not proof against the possibility of any nuclear accident.  But if you operate a nuclear plant that does not even follow these protocols, or which will require an exhaustive back job to make it merely close to acceptable, then you're asking for big trouble.  If the BNPP is commissioned, the Philippines will become host to one of the most dangerous nuclear power plants in the world," said Greenpeace Southeast Asia Campaigns Manager for the Philippines Beau Baconguis.

Greenpeace asserted that the design of the BNPP, is not only outdated, but is faulty as well.  Moreover, the BNPP's compliance to the IAEA's nuclear plant construction and site selection protocols have been the subject of doubt since even before the BNPP was finished (1).

In addition to the country's lack of a nuclear safety framework, which include legal and governmental infrastructure, radioactive emergency response and management systems, and protocols on radioactive materials transport and nuclear waste management which must necessarily be in place before any proposal on commissioning, the unresolved safety issues raised by the three studies conducted in the plant in the past two decades (two were government-commissioned and one independent) still remain undisputed.

The safety record of the BNPP's similar model plants are also not at all impeccable as Cong. Cojuangco claims.  According to news reports, the Gori reactor in Korea recently suffered three incidents in a period of two months (from December 2008 to January 2009), including a false alarm which necessitated a two-day power shut down.  In mid-2008 a coolant leak in the Krsko nuclear plant in Slovenia became the cause of a major alarm in the European Union.

"The truth is, the history of nuclear power is tainted with accidents and worse, cover-ups.  After Chernobyl, the worst accident in the history of nuclear power to date, the industry experienced twenty sober years, with hardly any new reactors being constructed.  Now that climate change and projected energy crises have entered the global agenda, the nuclear industry is once again trying to make us believe that nuclear power is safe and is the answer to all our concerns.  However, very little progress has actually been made in terms of safety of operations and nuclear waste storage--despite billions of dollars spent on subsidies and research," said Greenpeace Southeast Asia Nuclear Campaigner Tessa de Ryck.

Greenpeace has been calling on Congress Representatives not to support the proposed legislative measure to revive the mothballed BNPP. Yesterday, volunteers from the environment group delivered letters to Congress representatives who have signed on to the bill, to ask them to withdraw their endorsement.  With the letter, Greenpeace distributed 365 reasons to oppose nuclear power, a calendar which features photos of victims of nuclear disasters alongside a list of nuclear accidents for every day of the year.  An exhibit of the photos entitled Fallout: the human cost of nuclear catastrophe will be launched in Malate Church on

Saturday morning, following today's press preview.

"Renewable energy and energy efficiency, not nuclear power, should be the focus of any sound energy strategy that seeks to be sustainable," said Baconguis.

Greenpeace is an independent, global campaigning organization that acts to change attitudes and behavior, to protect and conserve the environment, and to promote peace.

Other contacts: Beau Baconguis, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Campaign Manager for the Philippines, +63 917 871 5257, Lea Guerrero, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Media Campaigner, +63 920 950 6877,

Notes: (1)