Government in Philippines Takes Another Look at Mothballed Nuclear Plant

Facing rising power demand and costs, energy officials in the Philippines are studying the potential to refurbish the mothballed Bataan nuclear plant.

Bataan nuclear plant. Source: IAEAThe country's energy secretary Jericho Petilla recently said reopening the project is a possibility, The Philippine Star reported. His department aims to recommend a course of action for the plant by the end of the current presidential administration in 2016. The study's scope will include whether to bid plant operations out to a contracting company. Petilla also said he would push for additional generation at the site if the project moves forward.

Work finished on a 621 megawatt Westinghouse pressurized water reactor at the plant in 1984. According to the World Nuclear Association, the unit was never loaded with fuel or operated because of financial and seismic concerns. A 2008 International Atomic Energy Agency mission concluded the plant could be run safely and economically if refurbished. Upgrades to safety and instrumentation and control systems were estimated to cost $800 million to $1 billion. The same year, the country hired Korea Electric Power Co. to conduct a feasibility study, which recommended refurbishing the plant.

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