Senator Win Gatchalian said the government must ensure safety in the potential use of nuclear energy as the country takes a step closer towards the development of the energy source.
“The government has to ensure safety in the use of nuclear energy as a means of generating electricity. Safety should be paramount and there needs to be a nuclear law in the country to ensure the safe and secure use of nuclear energy,” said Gatchalian.
The senator made the statement following the signing of a nuclear cooperation pact between the United States and the Philippines under which the latter would receive investments and technology support as the country transitions to cleaner energy.
“Public confidence in the use of nuclear energy needs to improve dramatically and ensuring safety and transparency is the only way to achieve significant development of nuclear energy in the country,” Gatchalian emphasized. He filed a resolution last year to inquire on the activities, outputs, and accomplishments of the Nuclear Energy Program Inter-Agency Committee and its recommendation for the country to embark on a nuclear power program.
According to Gatchalian, the government must also ensure adherence to international standards. In March last year, the government adopted a national position and formally relaunched its bid to include nuclear power in the country’s energy mix, generating varied reactions from the public.
Currently, the Department of Energy (DOE) is working on 19 infrastructure issues relating to the adoption of nuclear energy in line with The Milestones Approach of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which promotes the safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste generated by the use of nuclear technologies, including nuclear power. The IAEA safety standards provide the fundamental principles, requirements, and recommendations to ensure nuclear safety.
The Philippines has yet to ratify the Convention on Nuclear Safety, the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management, and the Amendment to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.