Why there should be a Nuclear Power Renaissance in the Philippines
Fukushima is scary for most Filipinos. It brings back memories of Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, like do you still want to switch on Bataan Nuclear power plant? It is a fair question. In a country with so many active faults, and the possibility of Earthquake is more of a question, “When,” and not “If,” and with that in mind, do we want a nuclear power plan in the Philippines?
Nuclear disaster at Fukushima brings back memories of the disaster of Chernobyl, and the bombs dropped at Nagasaki and Hiroshima to end World War II. Nuclear power is so scary for Filipinos that the constitution specifically mentions the People’s distaste for nuclear weapons. In many ways the fear of radioactive fallout is very, very deeply rooted in the Filipino psyche. Of course, this isn’t a sole Filipino phenomena. The world over, the fear of nuclear power is strong. There should be a greater understanding, nay——- respect——- for the sheer power of nuclear, and its myriad dangers.
Should Philippines consider Nuclear power?
Everyone understands that nuclear power is dangerous. This is understood the most by people who use radiation and nuclear power every single day. It is something to be respected, and never treated likely. It is like properly handling and owning a gun that police officers and soldiers are trained to from day one.
The question on the table is, should the Philippines use nuclear power? The answer is absolutely. We shouldn’t turn our back on a technology that could potentially ease our power crisis.
Should we evaluate it in such a way that building a plant could reduce our dependency on oil and gas? Yes, we should.
When the nation evaluates it, should we consider the environmental impact or reduced air pollution when old oil and gas power plants are retired and replaced by Nuclear? We should.
And should the environmental impact of a potential nuclear emergency be considered? Of course.
Should we build such plants on top of fault lines or in the possible path of flooding or tsunamis? Of course, we shouldn’t be stupid. We have the scientific expertise and engineers and scientists can figure out which areas are prone to such damaging effects. The government has that data, and other agencies around the world as well. If we need more data, that’s why there are studies and surveys first before embarking on such expensive projects.
Should the country consider only nuclear, and not focus our attention on other sources of energy, like solar, water, and wind? Of course not. That would be idiotic as well. We should consider all sources of potential energy, and evaluate them based on how much impact it brings to our power grid, and fully aware of the trade offs that come with choosing one technology over the other. Emerging nations are moving ahead with nuclear power plants as their energy needs demand increases in spite of Fukushima. Why shouldn’t we consider all options?
Holistic, long range, should be our goal. Don’t expect any of these technologies for years to come, but it shouldn’t stop the nation from beginning the work now. We need power, we need clean water, and the geopolitical realities of tomorrow are shaping up that the nation needs to be self sufficient in these.
This is why there should be a nuclear power renaissance in the Philippines.