Pragmatic solution

Use of nuclear technology will provide the predictability in prices and supply that is crucial for the nation, which is always beset by high prices of electricity and brownouts when demand peaks during the dry season.

The solution offered by nuclear technology should be considered as soon as possible.

Electricity supply was stable the past two years only because of the pandemic, as the economy slowed down and businesses had low demand for power.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi provided his insights on nuclear energy during the morning program of Daily Tribune, Gising Na! He explained that nuclear energy, being part of the fuel mix, helps provide ideal energy security as it is a clean source of power. It also offers, Cusi opined, a cheaper price since it is not affected by market volatility, like what is happening to oil and coal.

“Prices of oil and coal are erratic, so way back 2017, the Duterte administration started planning for the integration of nuclear energy in anticipation of distractions caused by several factors similar to the current geopolitical conflict and the suspension of coal exports of Indonesia,” Cusi said.

Such situations result to uncertainties in supply and prices that are non-existent in nuclear technology use.

Incorporating nuclear power in the energy mix will provide predictability and will pave the way for lower electricity prices.

“We are in that stage where a policy is in place after President Rodrigo Duterte signed Executive Order 164 that added nuclear energy among the options to generate electricity,” Cusi explained.

He said that the incoming administration should take the next steps to realize the potential of nuclear technology.

The country needs to do a lot of things before it finally achieves this but it has to be done now so that when natural or man-made crises strike, it can rely on stable power supply.

Every 18 to 24 months, a nuclear plant stops generating electricity to replace a third of its fuel assemblies. The used fuel are then placed in a spent fuel pool where they cool over time.

The cost of replacement, according to experts, would be around P1 billion to P1.25 billion in the span of the usable fuel life against around P35 billion of coal supply during the comparative period.

The most realizable path is for the parallel development of renewable and nuclear energy sources for the country to comply with international commitments on carbon gas emissions.

Both Filipinos and the world will benefit from the practical solution.

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