Is the Philippines Ready for Nuclear Energy?

Is the Philippines Ready for Nuclear Energy?
President Rodrigo Duterte has approved EO 164 of 2022 or the Nuclear Energy Program of the Philippines. This gives the Department of Energy the authority to include Nuclear Energy as part of the Philippine's Energy mix.

Why go for Nuclear Energy?

The Philippines sees an additional 68-GW capacity by 2040 to meet the active growth of power demand of 4.4% per year.

Why is Nuclear energy needed for the Philippines?

Electricity is essential for any country that wishes to achieve economic growth. All businesses that support the population need electricity to operate. Now, the Philippines have two (2) available energy sources to meet this massive demand. It is through Coal-Fired Power Plants and Natural Gas. 

But, these two are problematic to be called solutions.

Through coal, the country needs to build around 600 Coal-Fired Power Plants. And through Natural Gas, the Philippines needs to build 100 operational systems. Aside from that, Coal Fired and Natural Gas Power Plants will face environmental and technological challenges.

The campaign to lower carbon emissions has placed Coal-Fired Power Plant in an unfavorable position. Many of the general public no longer agree to burn coal for electricity.

Though Natural Gas looks promising, its source is limited and difficult to access. For example, in the middle of the Ocean.

Thus, it leaves the Philippines no other choice but to explore Nuclear Energy as a source of electricity.

When will they start building?

Don’t be too excited to see a Nuclear Power Plant with EO 164 of 2022. President Duterte signing the memo does not mean the country will build a Nuclear Power Plant. The EO only serves as a mandate to start exploring the possibilities of constructing a Nuclear Power Plant. This means that the DoE will begin its studies and partnerships with other sectors to see how the Philippines can use Nuclear Energy.

But one thing is sure, Nuclear Power Plants will happen in the coming decades.

How will this benefit the Philippines?

If the projection of Power Demand of the DoE is correct, Nuclear Power Plants can address Power shortages. It also prevents an unreasonable increase in electricity prices since Nuclear is a reliable Base Load Power Plant. As an indirect effect, electricity will be more affordable to attract investors to put up businesses in the country, thus creating more jobs.

Though some have hesitations about Nuclear Power Plant Safety, much has been done with the present technology to protect humans, wildlife, and the environment. And a survey conducted by the Philippine Government, showed that 65% of Filipinos support the construction of a Nuclear Power Plant in the country.

It’s not only the Philippines that want to go Nuclear. Neighboring countries, such as Malaysia, Vietnam, and the country of Singapore, are also working their way to including Nuclear Energy as part of their energy mix. Like the Philippines, they see the potential of Nuclear Power Plants as a reliable base load with zero carbon emissions.

So, is the Philippines Ready for Nuclear Energy?

As of the moment, not yet. But EO 164 gave the go signal to learn more about Nuclear Energy. The Philippines can now work with big countries like China and the US on how to safely construct and operate a Nuclear Power Plant. It will be a crucial partnership for the Philippines to meet energy security and grid stability. 

With the present condition of our energy sources, Nuclear Power Plants will likely start to operate in the coming decade. 

It will be an exciting moment for all of us. As we move forward all together with the country’s growth, with our lights turned on.