Nuclear Energy Symposium for Mapua ChE Students

The Department of Energy (DOE) sponsored a Virtual Symposium on Nuclear Energy for Mapúa Chemical Engineering Students last June 21-22, 2022.

Speakers from DOE, Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI), Nuclear Energy Programme Implementing Organization (NEPIO), and National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) delivered talks on the energy mix of the country and highlighted nuclear energy. They also discussed the design of the BNPP, its geographical location and safety, the government energy plans, and the timeline of implementation.

The DOE also sponsored the plant visit of Mapúa Chemical Engineering students to the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) last September 30, 2022, to emphasize to the students the importance of nuclear power as a viable energy source. The students were also oriented on the plant's history, structure, and potential working mechanisms giving them essential insights into the potential of nuclear energy in the country.

Brief Background

The Philippines announced the decision to build a nuclear power facility in response to the 1973 oil crisis, and the construction of a 621 MWe nuclear power plant in Morong, Bataan, started in 1976. It was equipped with a Westinghouse light water reactor and construction was completed in 1984. It was never operated due to safety concerns and turnaround in the political arena.

Energy security is now a stated government priority because the electricity demand is predicted to triple by 2040. Former President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed Executive Order (EO) No. 164 last February 28, 2022. The EO, entitled “Adopting a National Position for a Nuclear Energy Program, and for Other Purposes”, streamlined the country’s national position for a nuclear energy program which includes economic, political, social, and environmental objectives.

The nation is examining whether a nuclear power program is feasible, including the possibility of reviving the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) project or building a small modular reactor. As highlighted in the Philippine Energy Plan (PEP), energy security is a top concern for the government. The country's largest gas source, Malampaya, is gradually depleting, making self-sufficiency more challenging. The demand for oil from the transport industry increases and the demand for coal for power generation also rises.

Section 6 of EO 164 indicates that the Department of Energy is mandated to develop and implement the Nuclear Energy Program as part of the Philippine Energy Plan. Part of the DOE’s program includes reaching out to the public, including educational institutions, to provide information regarding nuclear technology. The DOE conducts symposia on nuclear energy to achieve this.