Malacañang will publish an EO on the use of nuclear energy

Malacañang is expected to issue an executive decree soon adopting the national position on nuclear technology that will pave the way for its inclusion in the energy mix, energy officials said on Wednesday.

“We seek to ensure energy security. This administration pushed for nuclear power. The president has signed an EO that will include a nuclear program for our energy development,” Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said during the virtual Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum.

“I don’t like anticipating things, but I believe we have the OE for that,” Cusi said.

The Department of Energy submitted to the president’s office the results of the intergovernmental agency’s study on adopting a national position on a nuclear power program in December 2020.

“We heard that the president will make an announcement soon. We heard from the president’s office that the policy will be approved soon,” Undersecretary Gerardo Erguiza Jr. said in a separate briefing.

Erguiza said the study was submitted over a year ago and “we heard that it could be favorably approved by decree,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order No. 116 on July 24, 2020 providing for the establishment of the Interagency Nuclear Power Program Committee chaired by the DOE to conduct the study.

The committee was tasked with submitting its recommendation on a national position on nuclear power to the president’s office.

Cusi is also pushing for the use of small modular reactors and is expected to sign a government-to-government cooperation agreement in the United States on nuclear power development this month.

He said Palawan, Cagayan and Sulu have expressed their willingness to host small modular reactors. “It will be a legacy from this administrator,” he said.

SMRs are advanced nuclear reactors that have a power capacity of up to 300 MW per unit, approximately one-third of the output capacity of traditional nuclear reactors.

Cusi said earlier that SMRs are a game-changer in the global energy landscape because they could be used in places that are unsuitable for large nuclear power plants.

He also urged the public to open up to nuclear power to help the country achieve its energy security and sustainability goals.

“I continue my appeal to my compatriots to open up to the idea. Considering the potential for the safe use of nuclear energy for the country’s energy needs does not mean that nuclear power plants will immediately come out of the woodwork,” Cusi said.

“I believe the time has come for us to embark on a comprehensive national nuclear power program,” the energy chief said.

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