The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said a team of experts has concluded an eight-day mission to the Republic of the Philippines having completed an Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR), which assessed the country's nuclear infrastructure development. The review, at the behest of the Government of the Philippines, ended on 17 December and concluded with recommendations the country should make to prepare for a nuclear power program.
The INIR team reviewed the status of nuclear infrastructure development using the Phase 1 criteria of the IAEA's Milestone's Approach. This protocol provides detailed guidance across three phases (consider, prepare, construct) of nuclear power development. The end of Phase 1 marks the readiness of a country to make a knowledgeable commitment to a nuclear power program.
The team was hosted by the Philippines’ Nuclear Energy Program Implementing Organization (NEPIO), which was established by the Department of Energy in 2016 at the direction of Secretary of Energy Alfonso Cusi.
“It is evident that the Philippines is following a systematic approach to finalize its nuclear power strategy and complete the associated infrastructure development," said team leader Milko Kovachev, Head of the IAEA’s Nuclear Infrastructure Development Section.
While noting the cooperative effort between the review team and NEPIO, the assessment arrived at recommendations that included involving a broader range of stakeholders in completing the work required to enable a national commitment to introduce nuclear power, developing a legal and regulatory framework that ensures and demonstrates a commitment to safety, security and non-proliferation, enhancing its approaches to human resource and leadership development, nuclear fuel cycle options and electrical grid impacts and adapting the existing national frameworks for emergency preparedness and response and nuclear security in light of a future nuclear power project.
The team also identified some good practices that would benefit other countries considering the introduction of nuclear power in the areas of legal framework, stakeholder involvement and site and supporting facilities.
“Our technical working groups have worked hard over the last 24 months preparing the initial studies,” said Secretary Cusi. "The results from the INIR mission will help us focus our efforts on the identified gaps, accelerate the legislative process and prepare the national decision. It is high time we put the framework in place to bring nuclear power into the energy mix. We should learn the lessons from the past and catch up with the missed opportunities.”
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