Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said that the Philippines considers reviving the Bataan nuclear plant that was completed more than three decades ago but was never used over safety concerns.
Abella said that the government considers reviving the $2.3 billion nuclear plant in Bataan to meet the growing power needs of the country. NAPOCOR Asset Preservation Department Manager Mauro Marcelo Jr. has said that the 620-megawatt capacity of the plant can supply 10 percent of the Luzon grid.
“(Officials) are considering all options for sustainable and affordable energy, and reviving the Bataan Nuclear Plant is being considered,” Abella said.
Opening the nuclear plant could provide the country with a non-carbon emitting source of energy but it is not the only option. Wind and solar power plants can also be tapped but these alternative energy producers also come with downsides.
Solar power plants, for instance, produce relatively less power. The Ivanpah Solar Power Facility in the U.S., for example, which happens to be the largest solar station in the world, can only produce 392 megawatts, or only about half of Bataan nuclear plant’s capacity. UAE’s Shams Solar Power Station, on the other hand, produces only 100 megawatt.
Solar power can be expensive. While the sun provides renewable sunlight, converting this light into electricity can cost a lot of money.
“Most solar cells are made from silicon—the same semiconductor material that is at the heart of computers. The cells are expensive to produce because it takes a great deal of energy to purify the silicon,” a National Geographics article explained.
Wind power can also produce clean and renewable energy but it also comes with disadvantages.For one, this power source relies on wind and this could cause power problems when the winds do not blow reliably or the weather is not favorable.
While the wind turbines can be set up in locations where the speed of the wind is high, these locations are likely to be in remote areas which would require transmission lines and new infrastructure to be set up to bring power to other areas.
Wind turbines also pose threats to wildlife. They can potentially kill flying creatures like birds and bats. Setting up wind turbines to produce more power likewise entail a larger open area, which could potentially lead to the chopping down of trees.
Still, by looking back at what happened to the Chernobyl nuclear plant in 1986 and recalling the nuclear disaster in Fukushima in 2011, we can better understand why some activists and environmental groups oppose the idea of reviving the Bataan nuclear power plant.