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Senator Sherwin Gatchalian

Gatchalian wants transparency in nuclear energy plan

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Senator Sherwin Gatchalian called for transparency in the government’s plan to study the possibility of tapping nuclear energy as a long term-option for energy generation.

“Transparency should be the guiding post from day one on the conduct of the study for the possible adoption of nuclear power in our energy mix. The conduct of this study should proceed with utmost transparency to the public in every step of the way,” Gatchalian said in a statement.

In calling for transparency, the chair of the Senate Committee on Energy noted that nuclear power is a very risky business, and that nations across the world are always in constant debate on the adoption of nuclear power because of its inherent risk to public welfare.

He also said that nuclear energy is an energy source that is “very complicated” and “demands high-level knowledge” to fully maximize its utilization without sacrificing public safety.

“The public should be well-informed on the inherent risk and the potential of nuclear power. Only an open and free discussion of this technology will deepen the comprehension of the public,” Gatchalian said.

The senator made the call following President Rodrigo Duterte’s issuance of Executive Order 116 creating the Nuclear Energy Program Inter-Agency Committee (NEP-IAC).

The NEP-IAC will be in charge of conducting a pre-feasibility study “to evaluate and assess the need for and viability of introducing nuclear power into the state’s energy mix, taking into consideration economic, security and environmental implications, and engagement of the public and relevant stakeholders.”

Among others, the NEP-IAC will review the existing legal framework, study the viability of nuclear energy, and recommend the necessary steps in the utilization of nuclear energy, as well as existing facilities such as, but not limited to, the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.

The NEP-IAC may call upon any department, agency, or instrumentality of the government for assistance in the course of the implementation of the order and request the assistance of the International Atomic Energy Agency and other international bodies to carry out its objectives, consistent with existing laws and national policies.

Within six months of effectivity of the order, the NEP-IAC must submit an initial report to the Office of the President, through the Executive Secretary, with succeeding reports to be submitted every six months.

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