nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Nuclear power not a realistic option for the Philippines, given the seismic and other disaster risks

“Just last month, we saw the impacts of a 7.1 magnitude earthquake (which) should serve as a warning. Exposure to unpredictable seismic events should make us think twice about having a nuclear power plant,” he said.

Nuclear power, Mr. Arances said, is not a solution to the climate and energy crises, adding that it does not guarantee lower electricity prices.

Safety regulations seen as ‘first step’ in nuclear power shift,  https://www.bworldonline.com/economy/2022/08/21/469667/safety-regulations-seen-as-first-step-in-nuclear-power-shift/ By Alyssa Nicole O. Tan, Reporter

THE Philippines is running late with its regulatory preparations for a safe nuclear power transition, the head of the Senate energy committee said.

Senator Rafael T. Tulfo said a law is needed to lay down standards for the incorporation of nuclear power companies, the construction of power plants, and the their operation.

“We have not even made a first step and we’re overdue,” he told BusinessWorld in a Viber message. Safety standards are needed because the Philippines sits astride an area of high tectonic activity, he said, adding that disaster response capacity must be developed should anything go wrong with such plants.

According to the World Bank, the Philippines is vulnerable to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tropical cyclones, and floods, making it one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world.

“In regulating the nuclear energy sector, there must be stringent standards as to the minimum standards for facilities, minimum qualifications for the persons or entities operating it, considerations as to where and how to acquire nuclear material, contingencies in case of emergency scenarios, proper standards on nuclear fuel disposal, limitations on foreign influence in the nuclear industry, and how the LGU where the plant is situated should gain a just and equitable share of the plant’s profits,” he said.

Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development Executive Director Gerry Arances told BusinessWorld in an e-mail that it would take years to create a policy framework thorough enough to take into account all safety, environmental, and electricity price risks, and years more to build nuclear facilities.

“Even small modular reactors would take about three to five years to construct. That means nuclear energy cannot provide immediate solutions to today’s energy crisis. In that span of time, renewable energy facilities could already have been deployed,” he said. 

Nuclear power, Mr. Arances said, is not a solution to the climate and energy crises, adding that it does not guarantee lower electricity prices.

“The price of fuel for nuclear energy like plutonium and uranium, neither of which can be sourced domestically, will put Filipino consumers at the mercy of global market prices and vulnerable to shocks,” he said. “We are already seeing this today with fossil fuel volatilities triggered by the Ukraine-Russia war.”

“In developing nuclear power, the Philippines will devote time and energy to figuring out where we can source nuclear fuel, how we will manage nuclear waste, and how we can prevent the possibility of our country turning into the next Fukushima or Chernobyl,” he added.

Even then, he said there is no assurance of eliminating the risk of nuclear accidents, given the country’s geographic location and the intensifying climate crisis.

“Just last month, we saw the impacts of a 7.1 magnitude earthquake (which) should serve as a warning. Exposure to unpredictable seismic events should make us think twice about having a nuclear power plant,” he said.

There were 10 deaths from the magnitude 7 earthquake that struck the northern Philippines, with more 300,000 people from about 82,000 families affected, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

The earthquake also damaged more than 21,000 houses, 302 of which were destroyed, the agency said. Damage to infrastructure was about P414 million in the Ilocos region, Cagayan Valley and Cordillera Administrative Region.

Mr. Arances said time and effort should instead be channeled to effecting a 100% transition to genuinely sustainable and safe renewable energy.

“We have an abundant supply of renewable energy just waiting to be developed at an increasingly affordable cost — case in point are the winning bidders of the GEA Reserve prices, of whom the lowest bid is P3.4 per kilowatt hour from solar,” he said.

August 21, 2022 Posted by | Philippines, safety | Leave a comment

Church stands against nuclear power in the Philippines

JUCA News, July 04, 2022

Renewable generation must double in the next few years if we are to save the nation from an economic meltdown

Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga has spoken out against the revival of the Bataan nuclear power plant saying it would be a great danger to the people and the environment. The Philippine bishops’ conference stands against nuclear power also.

“The voice of our people is strongly, openly no,” he said. Bishop Santos claimed the danger would be greater than any possible benefit. The danger “heavily outweighs its benefits,” he told Radyo Veritas on June 3.

The bishop was reacting to news reports that the Philippines’ new president Ferdinand Marcos Jr. plans to revive the nuclear power plant built by his father — the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

When former president Rodrigo Duterte signed an executive order that allowed nuclear power plants to be considered as a source of electricity generation, a wave of concern swept through the minds and hearts of the security, environmental, medical, and renewable energy thinking community……………………

“The Diocese of Balanga has decided… [we] are against this [move] and this stand will not change.”

The gray-haired veterans of the anti-Bataan Nuclear Power Plant campaigns, such as famous campaigner Professor Roland Simbulan of Nuclear Free Philippines, will recall the hundreds of millions of dollars that were siphoned off the deal into the private accounts of Marcos cronies.

Had the nuclear plant been operational, the Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruption and the many earthquakes would have likely caused a nuclear disaster.  The real possibility of a nuclear accident is what rightly scares millions of people away from nuclear power as a source of electricity when there are many alternatives of renewable energy available.

Solar and wind farms, hydro dams, geothermal, and biomass are all available and at much lower cost in comparison to nuclear energy, coal, oil and gas imports.

According to a report by the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC), the few existing renewable energy (RE) projects, especially solar and wind power have already saved the Philippines 4.04 billion pesos (about US$73 million).

Besides, renewable energy sources of electricity are free, thanks to nature. The wind blows, the sun shines and volcanic heat is always present for geothermal plants and delivered by nature without cost. They just need more investment and harnessing and they pose no danger………………………………………………………

The greatest challenge is the safe disposal of the deadly contaminated nuclear waste, which will last for thousands of years. The Philippine Department of Energy consultant proposes burying it on a remote island. For sure, the contamination will leech into the ocean and poison sea life and those who eat fish.

Pope Francis has encouraged everyone to use alternative ways to protect the environment and nuclear power is not one of them.

The future of the planet and humans is to stop burning fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gas, and stop global warming and accelerate the building of renewable energy projects……………   https://www.ucanews.com/news/church-stands-against-nuclear-power-in-the-philippines/97889

July 7, 2022 Posted by | Philippines, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Reactivating Nuclear Power Plant Near Volcano a Bad Idea, Geologists Say

. NewsWeek, BY JESSICA THOMSON ON 6/20/22  Plans to reactivate a nuclear power plant near the capital city of the Philippines have been criticized by scientists over its proximity to a potentially active volcano.

The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) is located in the foothills of Mount Natib, only five miles from the caldera, and was built in the 1980s. It was never activated due to anti-nuclear sentiment in the aftermath of the Chernobyl power plant disaster in 1986, with protests expressing concerns that the BNPP was in an earthquake zone thanks to the volcano’s Lubao fault, which runs through the volcano and the power plant…………………………………. https://www.newsweek.com/philippines-volcano-nuclear-power-plant-1717406

June 21, 2022 Posted by | Philippines, safety | Leave a comment

 President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. plans to confirm Duterte’s executiveorder to include nuclear power

 President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. plans to confirm Duterte’s executive
order to include nuclear power in the country’s energy mix. The first step
could be repurposing a plant already built under Marcos Sr by US company
Westinghouse in the early eighties not far from the capital, but which was
never fuelled. In Southeast Asia, the Philippines’ energy costs are
second only to Singapore’s.

 Asia News 18th June 2022

https://www.asianews.it/news-en/Manila-to-reboot-the-Bataan-Nuclear-Power-Plant-56065.html

June 20, 2022 Posted by | Philippines, politics | Leave a comment

Philippines’ Marcos in nuclear plant revival talks with S.Korea

  France 24 Manila (AFP) – Philippine president-elect Ferdinand Marcos signalled his determination to adopt nuclear power Monday, holding talks with South Korea’s envoy on possibly reviving a mothballed $2.2 billion plant built during his father’s dictatorship.

The 620-megawatt Bataan Nuclear Power Plant was left dormant after the elder Marcos was toppled in 1986…..

He left open the possibility of resuscitating his father’s failed venture — an idea he is now pushing ahead of his June 30 inauguration.

Marcos said he met South Korean Ambassador to Manila Kim Inchul on Monday to discuss a proposal on reviving the Bataan plant.

…………………….  

upgrading an ageing facility fitted with outdated analogue technology could take at least four years and cost another $1 billion.

There are also question marks on its design and location.

A monument to the greed and graft of the elder Marcos’s era, the plant sits 80 kilometres (50 miles) west of Manila, near several volcanoes in a part of the Philippines regularly shaken by earthquakes…………….  critics argue that renewable sources, such as wind and solar, are cheaper and safer to produce in a country hit by earthquakes, typhoons and volcanic eruptions.   https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220523-philippines-marcos-in-nuclear-plant-revival-talks-with-s-korea

May 26, 2022 Posted by | Philippines, politics | Leave a comment

Greenpeace: Nuclear power is not the solution to Philippines’ energy woes

Greenpeace: Nuclear power is not the solution to PH’s energy woes,   https://opinion.inquirer.net/151278/greenpeace-nuclear-power-is-not-the-solution-to-phs-energy-woes

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 04:05 AM March 22, 2022

We are writing to respond to Solita Monsod’s two recent columns on nuclear power and the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP). We believe these columns glossed over several important facts that the nuclear industry also wants to hide from the public eye.

First, nuclear power is not cheap. Costs for radioactive nuclear waste management and storage, decommissioning, and insurance, need to be factored in. Monsod compares nuclear prices to coal and oil, but recent reports by the International Energy Agency and the International Renewable Energy Agency have already confirmed that renewable energy (RE), primarily from solar and wind, is now the cheapest source of electricity by far. Rehabilitating the BNPP won’t be cheap either. Monsod makes a price comparison with new nuclear plants (which are prohibitively expensive) but neglects to make a comparison with RE, whose capital costs are a lot less than that of upgrading the BNPP.

We are writing to respond to Solita Monsod’s two recent columns on nuclear power and the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP). We believe these columns glossed over several important facts that the nuclear industry also wants to hide from the public eye.

First, nuclear power is not cheap. Costs for radioactive nuclear waste management and storage, decommissioning, and insurance, need to be factored in. Monsod compares nuclear prices to coal and oil, but recent reports by the International Energy Agency and the International Renewable Energy Agency have already confirmed that renewable energy (RE), primarily from solar and wind, is now the cheapest source of electricity by far. Rehabilitating the BNPP won’t be cheap either. Monsod makes a price comparison with new nuclear plants (which are prohibitively expensive) but neglects to make a comparison with RE, whose capital costs are a lot less than that of upgrading the BNPP.

There are also hidden costs, such as the costs to health and livelihoods of communities living in the vicinity of these plants, as well as the costs all Filipinos will pay to maintain a regulatory agency. But the biggest hidden cost is the price of a nuclear accident. This cost runs in the trillions of pesos and will affect generations of Filipinos. Neither the nuclear industry nor the government has mentioned anything about how these costs will be paid for should this happen.

Second, nuclear power will not solve our power woes or give us energy security. We still need to import radioactive fuel, so we will be hostage to the price volatility of this commodity. Nuclear proponents also never mention that fuel production is almost a monopoly, dominated by only four companies. This arrangement will lock us into dependence on foreign fuel and companies, where any shortage or increase in demand globally would mean Filipinos will be faced with rising energy costs that the government can’t control.

Third, the BNPP has not been confirmed by any independent study to be safe for operation, and “small modular nuclear reactors” for power generation don’t exist. All the studies so far conducted that have called the BNPP “safe” were undertaken by bodies connected with the industry, and therefore would not be subjective in their assessment. On the other hand, a safety inquiry conducted by the Union of Concerned Scientists found more than 4,000 technical defects in the plant. Meanwhile, small modular reactors being promoted by nuclear companies or agencies of Russia and the US are still currently being studied. Should the Philippines take this route, we will be among the first guinea pigs of this human experiment.


Fourth, we’ve never heard anything about permanent storage for radioactive spent fuel from nuclear promoters. The cost for constructing and maintaining this facility will likely be in the trillions of pesos, to be paid for by all Filipinos, not just nuclear power customers. But will the government find a safe place for this deadly waste in the archipelagic and volcanic Philippines? And will there be a local government unit that would willingly accept it? The problem of dealing with nuclear waste is the toxic burden we will leave today’s youth and their children, for them to additionally deal with, alongside climate impacts.

The debt we incurred because of BNPP was gargantuan. It was unfortunate that we paid for what was, in reality, the price of bad energy planning railroaded by a government that was blinded by the false glitter of nuclear power—and the kickbacks an expensive power project would bring. Will we let history repeat itself?

Monsod’s hinayang is for the past—sayang the money we paid for it, she says. It’s true we can’t get it back. But we can prevent Flipinos from bearing the same oppressive burden again. We have the opportunity to harness the cheapest power sources in the world—RE in the form of solar and wind—and redesign our energy system into flexible decentralized grids that are infinitely more efficient than the outdated centralized models reliant on inflexible baseload plants, such as nuclear. This kind of energy planning is smart, and game-changing, and is the real solution to the climate crisis. Mas malaking hinayang if we don’t take this opportunity to transform our energy system now, and create a better energy future for ourselves.

Khevin Yu,

energy transition campaigner

Greenpeace Philippines

khevin.yu@greenpeace.org

March 22, 2022 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Philippines, politics | Leave a comment

US to help Philippines develop nuclear power program; groups push renewable energy instead


US to help Philippines develop nuclear power program; groups push renewable energy instead

Angelica Y. Yang – Philstar.com

March 14, 2022 MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines and the United States signed a memorandum of understanding last week to work together to develop the Philippines’ nuclear power program.

The MOU was signed by Energy Undersecretary Gerardo Erguiza and US Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Bonnie Jenkins………….

The EO, which was signed on February 28, instructs the DOE to develop and implement the nuclear energy program under the Philippine Energy Plan, a comprehensive energy blueprint which details the energy sector’s goals in achieving a clean energy future. 

Duterte said in the EO that nuclear power is a “viable alternative source” of baseload power that can bridge the gap between rising demand and supply. 

The EO also instructed an interagency body — the Nuclear Energy Program Inter-Agency Committee —to study the possible use of the $2.2-billion Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, which was mothballed and never refueled.

Public policy think tank InfraWatch PH earlier told Philstar.com that Duterte’s EO comes a little too late as he has only a few months left in his term. This leaves the fate of his nuclear push to his successor who may choose to adopt or reverse the new energy policy. 

‘Nuclear will not solve climate crisis’

Manila-based climate and energy policy group Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities said that, contrary to the government’s claims, nuclear is no better than coal.

“Nuclear is even worse than coal for energy security and self-sufficiency. It has always been plagued with protracted construction timelines and gargantuan costs that require constant massive subsidies,” ICSC Executive Director Red Constantino told Philstar.com over email on Monday.

“[Nuclear] can only operate on a single level and cannot be ramped up or down. It is extremely rigid and completely unfit to respond to the country’s load profile,” he said. 

Constantino said the DOE should take its power sector modernization goals more seriously and prioritize flexible generation by ramping up support for renewable energy.

Last week, activists from environmental group Greenpeace Philippines marched to the DOE and called the push for nuclear power a “questionable energy policy which is the last thing the country needs.”

The protest took place on March 11 during the commemoration of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011, which killed at least 20,000 people, contaminated 240,000 square kilometers of land and caused $235 billion (around P12 trillion) of damage. 

“Greenpeace…maintains that nuclear power will not solve the climate crisis. The entire nuclear power plant life cycle contributes significantly to climate change, and these facilities take an average of 10 years to build,” the group said in a statement. 

Citing findings by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Greenpeace said humanity only has until 2030 to keep the global temperature rise within 1.5 degrees Celsius. 

“Setting up the country’s nuclear program and building a plant will take decades. Meanwhile, Filipinos will continue to suffer from climate impacts,” it said.

nstead of focusing on a nuclear policy, the current administration should have instead doubled its efforts to ensure that renewable energy “gets a better foothold” in the country’s energy future, according to Greenpeace Campaigner Khevin Yu.  https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2022/03/14/2167242/us-help-philippines-develop-nuclear-power-program-groups-push-renewable-energy-instead

March 15, 2022 Posted by | Philippines, politics international | Leave a comment

Philippines: the case against coal, other fossil fuels and nuclear power

Building a nuclear power plant will only further burden Filipino consumers economically and expose the country and citizens to more health hazards, contamination and disaster risks.Nuclear energy is the most expensive and most dangerous source of electricity. Contrary to others’ expectations, nuclear will actually cost us so much: fuel, expertise and technologies all have to be imported overseas. That’s aside from the huge costs of dealing with the safety risks and disasters associated with nuclear power plants.

 By Ludwig Federigan, Manila Times, February 12, 2022, The author is the executive director of the Young Environmental Forum and a nonresident fellow of the Stratbase ADR Institute. He ranks 236th among global Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) influencers, according to the Taking Action Online. You can email him at ludwig.federigan@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter at @WiggyFederigan

GROWTH is difficult to imagine without energy and energy that does not take the needs of future generations into consideration can only destroy and not build………The Philippines has enough renewable resources to meet its power needs but some are unevenly distributed.

Some locations may not be as well-endowed. Geographic features, such as mountains, may cause clouds to appear more often and block sunlight. Others may disrupt wind flows, making it harder to generate electricity from the wind.The solution in such cases is to import power from nearby areas better endowed with renewable sources.

 Given that we can be self-sufficient in renewable electricity nationwide, less endowed areas should not have to look too far to source electricity. This is no different from what we do today when we construct hundred-megawatt and gigawatt-level power plants — these are so widely-spaced apart that they have to export their output to distant  locations, too.

Delivering electricity to localities in need requires transmission and distribution lines. Thus, even where renewables make it possible for more households and communities to consume electricity at the point it is generated, we still need transmission infrastructure to support less endowed localities.The importance given to baseload plants — plants that provide a steady output 24/7 — is an outdated idea. It was useful in the past when renewables were very expensive but is less so today in an era of cheap renewables. It is possible to cope with the variable output of solar panels and wind turbines in the same way that banks cope with the inherent unpredictability of deposits and withdrawals.

The claim that renewable electricity is too expensive to compete with fossil fuels might have been valid a few years ago. It is not so true today. Various case studies have already shown how rooftop solar is cheaper than grid electricity in most parts of the country. Of course, if consumers still think otherwise, then the market for renewables will remain  sluggish.

What is needed at this point is for the policymakers, academics, media and the public to be better informed about the state of prices. This is something that can be done by suppliers and the government. Unfortunately, too many  policymakers, academics and media people still think that “solar is expensive.”

………………The government must do more to support renewable energy (RE). When people say RE is expensive, it’s in large part because it takes so many permits and many years to develop a project in the country. Many of the steps are unnecessary and sometimes are subject to discretion and abuse of public officials. If we cut this red tape, it will decrease the cost and risks of development, allow more local and foreign companies to compete, and reduce costs  for all consumers.

On nuclear power

Building a nuclear power plant will only further burden Filipino consumers economically and expose the country and citizens to more health hazards, contamination and disaster risks.Nuclear energy is the most expensive and most dangerous source of electricity. Contrary to others’ expectations, nuclear will actually cost us so much: fuel, expertise and technologies all have to be imported overseas. That’s aside from the huge costs of dealing with the safety risks and disasters associated with nuclear power plants.

The uranium needed to fuel a nuclear facility will have to be imported as deposits do not exist in the country. Not only will this reduce the country’s energy independence, it will also render the price we pay for power dependent on changes in world uranium prices. Transportation of the fuel is also another cost that has to be shouldered. The costs of building, operating and eventually decommissioning nuclear plants are also much more higher than renewables.Nuclear energy is not clean or truly renewable. While atomic energy can be regenerated, substances such as uranium are finite resources. These materials are also mined, just like fossil fuels, and need further processing before they are  usable. The processing also poses risks for the environment and is likely to contribute to greenhouse gas emissions  rather than mitigate them, as is often claimed by nuclear power proponents…………..

The risk and costs of environmental destruction and the impacts on health and livelihoods outweigh any short-term perceived benefits from nuclear. The government must instead focus on achieving ambitious RE targets and aim for  100-percent RE power generation. We should stop wasting time, money and effort on pursuing nuclear energy, which is a losing proposition for consumers, the economy, and our health and safety. https://www.manilatimes.net/2022/02/12/business/green-industries/the-case-against-coal-other-fossil-fuels-and-nuclear-power/1832623.

February 12, 2022 Posted by | Philippines, politics | 1 Comment

AUKUS and the Philippines – sleepwalking into military-nuclear entanglements

From peaceful, nuclear-free Asean to battle-ready Indo-Pacific? Manila Times, By Dan Steinbock, October 18, 2021As the Duterte era is gradually ending, new arms races and nuclear proliferation cast a dark shadow over Southeast Asia. The Philippines may be sleepwalking into military-nuclear entanglements.

ACCORDING to the new trilateral security pact between the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia (Aukus), Washington and London will “help” Canberra to develop and deploy nuclear-powered submarines.

The highly controversial $66-billion deal is expected to trigger arms races and nuclear proliferation in Asia. It violates the Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (SEANWFZ, 1995), effective since 1997. It would seem to violate the Philippine Constitution. And it is strongly opposed by China.

Yet, right after the Aukus, when Asean began to build consensus on the nuclear pact, Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. welcomed the pact.

PH policies, Asean concerns

According to Locsin, the Philippines “welcomes Australia’s decision to establish” the Aukus. And he added: “Asean member states, singly and collectively, do not possess the military wherewithal to maintain peace and security in Southeast Asia.”

According to this logic, Asean is irrelevant in matters of regional peace and security and therefore each Asean should align with one or another major military power, irrespective of collective consequences.

Such logic shuns and could derail, inadvertently or purposefully, the ongoing work by the Asean and China on the Code of Conduct for the South China Sea by 2022. Most importantly, the logic opens the door to the nuclearization of the region at the expense of the SEANWFZ treaty and the aspirations of the Asean community. That’s why Malaysia’s veteran statesman Mahathir Mohamad blasted the Aukus statement: “You have escalated the threat.”

The first reaction of both Malaysia and Indonesia was to warn of an impending arms race unleashed by such a pact. Australia’s nuclear decision prompted the Indonesian foreign ministry’s official note that it was “deeply concerned over the continuing arms race and power projection in the region.” So, why did Locsin choose to break ranks with the Asean?

ADRi: China the issue of 2022

The plan to drag the Philippines into the Indo-Pacific containment front against China seems to have evolved in the mid-2010s, but fell apart with the Duterte election triumph and the meltdown of the Liberal Party.

To avoid a déjà vu, former Foreign Affairs secretary Albert del Rosario recently called on the Philippines to choose a leader who will reverse President Rodrigo Duterte‘s policy of “loving and embracing” China after the “’22 polls.”

In this quest, a key supportive role belongs to the Stratbase Albert del Rosario Institute (ADRi), embedded with US business and national security interests. Through its board members and executives, Rosario’s ADRi is joined with its parent, Stratbase, an “advisory and research consultancy,” and Bower Group Asia led by Ernest Z. Bower 4th. Stratbase is the Philippine partner of Bower Group Asia.

Until the 2000s, Bower led the US-Asean Business Council. He is an ADRi board member and Southeast Asia advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a leading US think-tank close to the State Department, Pentagon, defense contractors and Wall Street.

The maritime dispute with China, said ADRi’s president Victor Manhit, is what “we will make an issue in the 2022 elections.” Due to interlocking leaderships, Manhit himself heads Stratbase and Bower Asia Group‘s Philippine branch.

The goals go back to the Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino 3rd government (2010 to 2016).


As the Duterte era is gradually ending, new arms races and nuclear proliferation cast a dark shadow over Southeast Asia. The Philippines may be sleepwalking into military-nuclear entanglements.

ACCORDING to the new trilateral security pact between the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia (Aukus), Washington and London will “help” Canberra to develop and deploy nuclear-powered submarines.

The highly controversial $66-billion deal is expected to trigger arms races and nuclear proliferation in Asia. It violates the Southeast Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (SEANWFZ, 1995), effective since 1997. It would seem to violate the Philippine Constitution. And it is strongly opposed by China.

Yet, right after the Aukus, when Asean began to build consensus on the nuclear pact, Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. welcomed the pact.

Such logic shuns and could derail, inadvertently or purposefully, the ongoing work by the Asean and China on the Code of Conduct for the South China Sea by 2022. Most importantly, the logic opens the door to the nuclearization of the region at the expense of the SEANWFZ treaty and the aspirations of the Asean community. That’s why Malaysia’s veteran statesman Mahathir Mohamad blasted the Aukus statement: “You have escalated the threat.”

The first reaction of both Malaysia and Indonesia was to warn of an impending arms race unleashed by such a pact. Australia’s nuclear decision prompted the Indonesian foreign ministry’s official note that it was “deeply concerned over the continuing arms race and power projection in the region.” So, why did Locsin choose to break ranks with the Asean?…………..

Conflicts of interest, military entanglements…………..

…….. the Aukus pact does contribute to the ongoing arms races in Southeast Asia. It will foster nuclear proliferation in the region. It violates the goals of the nuclear-free Southeast Asia treaty. It is not in line with the Philippine Constitution.

President Duterte has pledged to end the bilateral military deal with Washington if US nuclear weapons are found in the Philippines. But his term will end by next summer.

Obviously, Australia, the US and UK seek to calm Asean members, arguing that nuclear weapons are not really for military purposes. But since 1945, assurances have not been reliable in nuclear matters. During the Cold War, US nuclear warheads were secretly stockpiled in the Philippines. Moreover, in the 1965 Philippine Sea A-4 crash, a US Skyhawk attack aircraft fell into the sea off Japan. Coming from the US Naval Base in Subic Bay, it was carrying a nuclear weapon with 80 times the blast power of the Hiroshima explosion.

It wasn’t until 1989 that the Pentagon disclosed the loss of the 1-megaton hydrogen bomb.

New policy? Two policies? No policy?

Today, the destructive power of these weapons is far greater, as stressed by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). In January, the Philippines ratified the ICAN’s legally binding Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). On May 19, Locsin stated that the Philippines welcomes the Aukus nuclear pact.

Only two days later, Locsin reaffirmed the Philippines’ “principled policy and commitment toward the complete prohibition of nuclear weapons as enshrined in the relevant provisions of the Philippine Constitution and the Treaty.”

The Philippines’ principled policy is crystal clear: The country definitely welcomes nuclear proliferation in Southeast Asia. And the country is absolutely committed against nuclear-free Southeast Asia. Where will that “principled policy and commitment” take us after the 2022 election?

https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/10/18/opinion/columns/from-peaceful-nuclear-free-asean-to-battle-ready-indo-pacific/1818773


October 18, 2021 Posted by | Philippines, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

An expert explains that the Philippines’ nuclear power plant would be OK, but solar power would be faster and better.


Instead of nuclear power, why not solar power?  
https://opinion.inquirer.net/143165/instead-of-nuclear-power-why-not-solar-power Philippine Daily Inquirer  August 17, 2021,   Last July 8, Peter Wallace wrote in his column about nuclear power plants being safe and that there are many countries operating their nuclear power plants safely over the last 50 years: the United States, Germany, Taiwan, Japan. etc.

I agree about recommissioning the Bataan nuclear plant. As a chemical engineer, I can say that we have enough controls to operate it safely.

However, reviving the Bataan plant will take at least five years. Why not recommend the use of solar panels instead, per Republic Act No. 11285 or the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act, which requires building owners to use renewable sources like solar? The Philippines is the only country in the world with 2,000 hours of sun per year.

Germany went on to use solar panel systems on roofs and, in a short period of time, four million houses have been generating power, resulting in the shutdown of many coal plants. In the United States, New York appointed an energy czar to speed up the use of renewable energy.

Australia gives incentives to households that use solar batteries. lberdrola Spain has made tremendous progress on the use of renewable energy, becoming one of the top five electric utility companies in the world. Portugal and Spain have invested in photovoltaic battery storage systems.

August 17, 2021 Posted by | Philippines, renewable | Leave a comment

USA still has ban on major foodstuffs from Fukushima region. Why did Philippines lift their ban?

Silence on Japan’s dumping nuclear wastes and historical revisionism risks world environment, Manila Times, 
Kim Chui, June 8, 2021

JAPANESE Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s recent announcement of Japan’s unilateral decision to dump 1.2 million tons of nuclear waste into the Pacific Ocean should be of real concern to everyone. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted that the US supported Japan’s announcement, but the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) extended its import ban on major foodstuff from the Fukushima region that has been in effect since 2011.

More worrisome is Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.’s announcement in January 2020 during the visit of Japan Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu, that the Philippines had lifted all import bans of food products from Japan without reporting whether any proper scientific tests had been done. Were there safeguards established to protect Filipino consumers, or were we made to be the dumping ground of rejects again just to extend goodwill to a “friend?”    Is the Philippine FDA more capable of testing radioactive foodstuff than the US FDA?…………….  https://www.manilatimes.net/2021/06/08/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/silence-on-japans-dumping-nuclear-wastes-and-historical-revisionism-risks-world-environment/1802316

June 8, 2021 Posted by | environment, Philippines | Leave a comment

Nuclear power – simply unaffordable for the Philippines

November 7, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, Philippines, politics | Leave a comment

Cost and safety dangers should rule out nuclear power for the Philippines

Going nuclear, (The Philippine Star ) – October 3, 2020 As if the country didn’t have enough disasters, certain quarters still haven’t given up on harnessing nuclear power for electricity. The idea is to revive the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, built during the Marcos dictatorship. The BNPP was mothballed after the 1986 people power revolt because of a corruption scandal and safety concerns arising from the fact that it sits on an earthquake fault connected to the dormant Mount Natib volcano in Bataan.

A report this year placed the cost of reviving the BNPP, as estimated by a foreign group, at $3 billion to $4 billion. Reviving it will go against a trend in other countries to reduce nuclear power in their energy mix, because of safety concerns in the power plants as well as the risks posed by nuclear waste, which remains radioactive and cannot be destroyed or recycled……..

Like Japan, the Philippines sits along the Pacific Ring of Fire. Before the start of this year’s pandemic, Taal Volcano’s powerful phreatic explosion emptied surrounding communities, displaced thousands and blanketed towns and cities all the way to Metro Manila with toxic, suffocating ash. Earthquakes and aftershocks continue to be recorded in Taal, with seismologists warning of the possibility of a cataclysmic eruption.

If the BNPP is revived, at great cost to a cash-strapped government, what happens if Mount Natib also acts up, or if an earthquake hits Bataan? If all the proponents of nuclear energy will live together with their immediate families near the BNPP – and not just for show, buying a house nearby while the kids live in an exclusive village far from harm’s way – then by all means, go ahead with the project. https://www.philstar.com/opinion/2020/10/03/2046802/editorial-going-nuclear

October 3, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, Philippines, politics, safety | Leave a comment

Duterte asks nations to reject war, eliminate nuclear weapons

Duterte asks nations to reject war, eliminate nuclear weapons,   Darryl John Esguerra – Reporter / @DJEsguerraINQ

 INQUIRER.net  September 14, 2020   President Rodrigo Duterte made this appeal to all countries in a video shared on Twitter on Monday by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

No goals, however lofty, can justify weapons that destroy with such unforgiving brutality,” Duterte said.

The video, which also featured messages by other world leaders, was originally posted on YouTube by the City of Hiroshima to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing last Aug. 6, which was followed by the bombing of Nagasaki on Aug. 9.

“We must not forget: Nuclear weapons will not make us freer, stronger, or more secure. We must not waver. All nations should reject war and do everything to pave the path for peace. We must be firm. All nations must work together to eliminate nuclear weapons,” Duterte said……….Other world leaders in the video were World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus, Belgium Foreign Affairs and Defense Minister Philippe Goffin, and Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda.   https://globalnation.inquirer.net/190853/on-75th-anniv-of-hiroshima-bombing-duterte-asks-nations-to-reject-war-eliminate-nuclear-weapons

 

September 15, 2020 Posted by | Philippines, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Philippines wary of nuclear power: costs to be borne by tax-payer

August 25, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, Philippines | Leave a comment