Echoes From: Nuclear commission

Friday, January 25, 2019 12:00 AM    Views : 106by:Johnny Dayang

THE recent suggestion by American environ­mentalist Michael Shellen­berger, a Time magazine “Hero of the Environment” award-winning author, for the Philippines to shift to nuclear energy to generate electricity deserves serious consideration.

Power demand continues to soar more rapidly than supply due to population growth and accelerating economic development. Electricity rates also remain astronomical because of high production costs, us­ing fossil fuels which also cause deadly air pollution. In truth nuclear energy is a lot cheaper and “the safest way to make electricity” as Shellenberger puts it.

Our fear of nuclear mat­ters largely stem from the Fukushima (Japan) tragedy but our panic reaction to it has been largely exagger­ated by its post-tsunami ac­counts and not directly from nuclear technology itself.

Having objectively un­derstood their fears, many European countries, the US and South Korea, have now opted to revive their nuclear power plants. We also need now perhaps to consider reviving our mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).

On the issue of BNPP sitting astride earthquake faults, DOST USec and Phivolcs director Renato Solidum said “the Phivolcs’ recommended buffer zone against rupturing is at least five meters on both sides of a verified deformation zone.” BNPP is 64 kilome­ters south of the Iba Fault in Zambales, 78 kms north­west of the Marikina West Valley Fault System, and 83 kms south of the East Zambales Fault.

Significantly, the Lower House has recently ap­proved unanimously the “Comprehensive Nuclear Regulation Act” (HB 8733) which seeks to establish a comprehensive nuclear reg­ulatory framework and pol­icy systems and programs, and create an autonomous Philippine Nuclear Regula­tory Commission (PNRC) to be attached to the De­partment of Science and Teechnology, to oversee their implementation.

Crafted by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda together with seven other lawmakers including Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Ma­jority Deputy Leader Ron Salo, and Senatoriable Gary Alejano, HB 8733 seeks to establish a legal frame­work that will adequately protect public health and safety, and the environment against the ill effects of ion­izing radiation, and ensure the security of radiation resources.

Salceda said the bill also provides penalties for viola­tors including imprisonment for up to five years, and/or fines ranging from P1 million to P5 million. PNRC-generated revenues shall accrue to the state general fund. There will also be a Nuclear Waste Manage­ment Fund from a portion of payments for nuclear generated electricity, exclu­sively for the safe disposal of nuclear wastes.


S & T Trivia

" Dr. Baldomero Olivera, a UP Summa cum Laude graduate, discovered conotoxins, a bunch of biomolecules in Philippine marine snails now used in international neuroscience research. A seacone known scientifically as Conus lapulapu was named after Lapulapu, the Philippine hero who killed Ferdinand Magellan in war. "

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