home Pending Reactors, U In power hungry Philippines, some advocate a nuclear revival

In power hungry Philippines, some advocate a nuclear revival

The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) is seen during a tour around the BNPP compound in Morong town, Bataan province, north of Manila, Philippines May 11, 2018. Picture taken May 11, 2018. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

Filipino Wilfredo Torres was hired as a technician for Southeast Asia’s only nuclear power plant in the 1980s, but has spent the past decade giving guided tours at the never-used facility.

The Philippines splashed out $2.3 billion on the 621-megawatt Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, but mothballed it after the collapse of a dictatorship and the devastating Chernobyl disaster.

Now, there’s a chance that Torres, 56, might get to see the plant in action before he retires in four years.

As power demand soars in one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, the Philippines’ energy ministry is looking seriously again at nuclear power and urging President Rodrigo Duterte to fast-track its revival.

“There’s still a few of us who have been here from the start who are hoping to see the plant running before we retire,” said Torres during a tour of the facility, nearly 200km (125 miles) northwest of Manila.

The Department of Energy has asked Duterte for an executive order declaring the Philippines ready for a nuclear power program, said Gerardo Erguiza, energy assistant secretary.