Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes needs to take firmer stance on nuclear energy

Press release - May 8, 2009
Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes recently issued a statement to the Manila Overseas Press Club regarding the revival of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. During his briefing to the media, Reyes said that the Philippines is not equipped with the infrastructure needed to run a nuclear power plant and added, We have to work on this [nuclear] and it’s a slow process but we have to get there eventually.

Greenpeace Southeast Asia Climate Campaigner Amalie Obusan said:

"Secretary Reyes needs to take a clear stance on the issue of nuclear energy. His recent statement is a mere ploy to pacify anti-nuclear groups and lull the public into a sense of security, while he and his colleagues continue to divert resources from real and sustainable energy solutions.

Nuclear power is neither a safe nor cheap alternative to fossil fuels, even in countries where the resources and infrastructure are already in place.  Japan which already has an established nuclear energy program, for example, has yet to resume full operation of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant, the world's largest nuclear power complex, after a 2007 earthquake forced it to shut down. As this case clearly shows, nuclear power cannot guarantee security of supply.

Furthermore, nuclear power plants are very costly to build. Nuclear power plant projects have notorious records when it comes to construction delays, more the rule than the exception, causing tremendous budget overruns. The Olkiluoto European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) currently under construction in Finland is showcased as the flagship of a new generation of reactors but has been plagued by continuous problems. The project is now three years behind schedule and 50% over budget. Recently, in a leaked letter to Areva, the French constructor of the said plant, the Finnish nuclear regulator STUK warns of a lack of 'real progress' in the 'design of control protection systems', which could lead to a halt in further construction.

Switching to nuclear power will only increase the Philippines' dependence on foreign technology and fuel.  Greenpeace firmly restates that renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies are the genuine solutions to energy security.  Our government leaders should focus its resources on renewable energy, instead of continuously issuing pointless statements."

Other contacts: Amalie Obusan, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Campaigner, +639053580193 Paulia Belgado, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Media Campaigner, +63 920950 6877,