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Cusi: Scientific assessment of going nuclear shouldn’t be taboo

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PH NUCLEAR TEAM: Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi (center), together with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Nuclear Division Director Dohee Han and the Nuclear Energy Programme Implementing Organization (NEPIO) members headed by Undersecretary Donato D. Marcos, gather for a photo after the morning session of the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review Mission held on Monday, 10 December, at the Makati Shangri-La, Manila hotel. "The more we learned about nuclear energy, the more open we became about it," Cusi said in his keynote address.

MAKATI CITY – The Department of Energy (DOE) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conducted Monday (10 December) the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INRI) Mission at the Shangri-La Makati hotel as part of the activities of the Nuclear Energy Programme Implementing Organization (NEPIO).

“In the spirit of technology neutrality, I decided to reignite the discourse on nuclear power despite its being taboo,” Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi underscored.

He also highlighted that the Philippines has ranked first among 125 countries in the Energy Trilemma Index of the World Energy Council in the last four years, with a renewable energy share of 24.6% in the country’s generation mix.

However, the DOE chief expressed his concern over the country trailing behind in terms of energy security and energy equity, which are the two other dimensions of the Energy Trilemma. The Philippines placed 70th on energy security and came in at 96th place for energy equity.

Thus, the DOE is openly considering the feasibility of introducing nuclear power into the energy mix of the country in the race to provide uninterrupted, secure, reliable, sustainable, and affordable electricity throughout the archipelago. This would also improve the country’s over-all Energy Trilemma Index rank, which currently stands at 74th out of 125 countries.

At the onset of the Duterte Administration, the DOE has adopted a technology neutral approach to allow the unhindered consideration of all options to achieve the energy goals of the Philippines.

The nuclear event serves as the country’s status report to the IAEA of progress made relative to the 19 infrastructure issues that need to be addressed before the Philippines is able to embark on a full nuclear energy program.

The event was attended by IAEA Nuclear Division Director Dohee Han; IAEA Review Team Leader Milko Kovachev; other IAEA personalities and partners from the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI); and members of the NEPIO headed by DOE Undersecretary Donato D. Marcos.

The country’s initial undertakings on the nuclear energy option with the support of IAEA and PNRI include the establishment of NEPIO in 2016 and the DOE’s submission to the Office of the President of its proposed national position on nuclear energy in April 2018.

The energy chief assures the public that the government will continue to apply a calculated and scientific approach in evaluating the feasibility of nuclear energy for power generation, and ensure that the nuclear policy of the country will be comprehensive and sound, especially in terms of safety.

Sec. Cusi concluded, “We need to make the Philippines energy secure and equitable in the midst of ever-growing demand. We need to generate inclusive and sustainable economic development and make the country globally competitive.” (RONDA Balita Online News)

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Emmanuel "Manny" Dineros Balbin Editor-in-Chief An ex-seminarian of Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) in Notre Dame University Seminary in Cotabato City, and graduated Philosophy as major course, Political Science as minor, at the Aquinas University of Legaspi City. But landed in Journalism. A former Journal Group of Pub lication (People's Journal, Peoples Tonight, Taliba & Women's Journal) PT staffer for 17 years, simultaneously contributed to 3 local newspaper in Bulacan (NewsCore, MetroNews & NewsWatcher). A former Journal Group provincial correspondent, Kabayan provincial reporter, 2010 Bulacan election correspondent by Rappler.

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