Bataan Nuclear Power Plant

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Bataan Nuclear Power Plant
Bataan Nuclear Powerplant.jpg
Bataan Nuclear Power Plant is located in Philippines
Bataan Nuclear Power Plant
Location of Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in Philippines
Country Philippines
Location Morong, Bataan
Coordinates 14°37′45″N 120°18′49″E / 14.62917°N 120.31361°E / 14.62917; 120.31361Coordinates: 14°37′45″N 120°18′49″E / 14.62917°N 120.31361°E / 14.62917; 120.31361
Status Completed, never launched
Construction began 1976
Construction cost $US2.3 billion
Nuclear power station
Reactor type PWR
Reactor supplier Westinghouse Electric Company
Power generation
Units operational 0
Units under const. 0
Nameplate capacity 621 MW

Bataan Nuclear Power Plant is a nuclear power plant, completed but never fueled, on Bataan Peninsula, 100 kilometres (62 mi) west of Manila in the Philippines. It is located on a 3.57 square kilometre government reservation at Napot Point in Morong, Bataan. It was the Philippines' only attempt at building a nuclear power plant.

Background[edit]

The Philippine nuclear program started in 1958 with the creation of the Philippine Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) under Republic Act 2067.[1] Under a regime of martial law, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos in July 1973 announced the decision to build a nuclear power plant.[1] A presidential committee was set up to secure funding for two 600 megawatt nuclear reactors for the energy needs of Luzon.[2] This was in response to the 1973 oil crisis, as the Middle East oil embargo had put a heavy strain on the Philippine economy, and Marcos believed nuclear power to be the solution to meeting the country's energy demands and decreasing dependence on imported oil.[3]

Controversy[edit]

Two proposals were submitted by reputable energy companies — General Electric and Westinghouse Electric. General Electric submitted a proposal containing detailed specifications of the nuclear plant and estimated it to cost US$700 million. On the other hand, Westinghouse submitted a lower cost estimate of US$500 million, but the proposal did not contain any detail or specification.[2]

The presidential committee tasked to oversee the project preferred General Electric's proposal, but this was overruled by Marcos in June 1974 who signed a letter of intent awarding the project to Westinghouse, despite the absence of any specifications on their proposal.[2] By March 1975, Westinghouse's cost estimate ballooned to US$1.2 billion without much explanation. The National Power Corporation would later construct only one nuclear reactor plant for US$1.1 billion.[2]

Westinghouse would soon be discovered that it sold the similar technology to other countries for only a fraction of the project cost it billed the Philippines.[2]

Construction[edit]

Construction on the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant began in 1976. Following the 1979 Three Mile Island accident in the United States, construction on the BNPP was stopped, and a subsequent safety inquiry into the plant revealed over 4,000 defects.[1] Among the issues raised was that it was built near a major geological fault line and close to the then dormant Mount Pinatubo.[2][3]

By 1984, when the BNPP was nearly complete, its cost had reached $US2.3 billion.[3] Equipped with a Westinghouse light water reactor, it was designed to produce 621 megawatts of electricity.[3]

Marcos was overthrown by the People Power Revolution in 1986. Days after the April 1986 Chernobyl disaster, the succeeding administration of President Corazon Aquino decided not to operate the plant.[1][4] Among other considerations taken were the strong opposition from Bataan residents and Philippine citizens as well as concern over the integrity of the construction.[1][4][5]

The government sued Westinghouse for alleged overpricing and bribery but was ultimately rejected by a United States court.[6] Debt repayment on the plant became the country's biggest single obligation. While successive governments have looked at several proposals to convert the plant into an oil, coal, or gas-fired power station, these options have all been deemed less economically attractive in the long term than simply constructing new power stations.[3]

Opposition[edit]

The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant was a focal point for anti-nuclear protests in the late 1970s and 1980s. The project was criticised for being a potential threat to public health, especially since the plant was located in an earthquake zone,[7] and because a volcano formation was found near the location of the plant.[citation needed]

2000s[edit]

Despite never having been commissioned, the plant has remained intact, including the nuclear reactor, and has continued to be maintained.[3] The Philippine government completed paying off its obligations on the plant in April 2007, more than 30 years after construction began.[3]

On January 29, 2008, Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes announced that an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) eight-man team led by Akira Omoto inspected the Bataan Nuclear power station on rehabilitation prospects. In preparing their report, the IAEA made two primary recommendations. First, the power plant's status must be thoroughly evaluated by technical inspections and economic evaluations conducted by a committed group of nuclear power experts with experience in preservation management. Second, the IAEA mission advised the Philippines government on the general requirements for starting its nuclear power program, stressing that the proper infrastructure, safety standards, and knowledge be implemented.[8] The IAEA's role did not extend to assessing whether the power plant is usable or how much the plant may cost to rehabilitate.[8] On February 1, 2010, NAPOCOR started evaluating the financial plan of Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), assessing that it may cost US$1 billion to rehabilitate the nuclear plant.[9]

On February 22, 2011, the Philippine government will reimburse the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) ₱4.2 billion (US$96 million) it spent for maintaining the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.[10] It requires an average of ₱40 million a year just to maintain it.[11] In May 2011, it was announced that the plant would be turned into a tourist attraction.[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Valdez-Fabros, Corazon (1998-10-16). "The continuing struggle for a nuclear-free Philippines". WISE News Communique. Retrieved 2005-08-17. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Magno, Alex R. (1998). Kasaysayan: The Story of the Filipino People Vol. 9. Asia Publishing Co. pp. 204–205. ISBN 962-258-232-X. Retrieved 8 March 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g ABS-CBN News. (2007). ABS-CBN Interactive Retrieved 2007-06-13.[dead link]
  4. ^ a b Lee, Yok-shiu F.; Jeff So; Alvin Y. (October 1999). Asia's Environmental Movements: Comparative Perspectives (Asia and the Pacific). M E Sharpe Inc. ISBN 978-1-56324-909-9. Retrieved 2008-08-26. 
  5. ^ http://www.yonip.com/is-the-bataan-nuclear-power-plant-safe-by-professor-roland-g-simbulan/
  6. ^ Goodno, James. (1993-07-24). Fossil fuel plans for nuclear station. New Scientist Retrieved 2009-10-21
  7. ^ Lee, Yok-shiu F. and Alvin Y. So (1999). Asia's Environmental Movements: Comparative Perspectives M.E. Sharpe, pp. 160-161.
  8. ^ a b Report, Staff. (2008-07-12). IAEA Advises Philippines on Next Steps for "Mothballed" NPP. International Atomic Energy Agency Retrieved 2009-10-21.
  9. ^ World, Business. (2010-02-02). Cost of Bataan nuke plant rehab set at $1-B. ABS-CBN News Retrieved 2011-03-16.
  10. ^ Business. (2011-02-22). Official: Napocor to get paid P4.2B for BNPP. GMA News Retrieved 2011-03-17.
  11. ^ Amadora, Len. (2011-02-21). BNPP to power the future?. Manila Bulletin Retrieved 2011-03-17.
  12. ^ Lendon, Brad. (2011-05-11). Philippine nuclear plant to become tourist attraction. CNN News Blog Retrieved 2011-03-14.

External links[edit]