Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Philippines may go nuclear as energy demand increases’

‘Philippines may go nuclear as energy demand increases’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Bataan Nuclear Power Plant was built at great cost to the government but this was mothballed due to safety concerns. AFP

‘Philippines may go nuclear as energy demand increases’

The Philippines may eventually open up to nuclear power to meet the increasing energy demand, possibly displacing coal-fired power generation plants over the long haul, London-based think tank Fitch Solutions Inc said.

“Nuclear power will offer an effective solution to meet the country’s rising power demand over the coming decade, particularly as coal-fired power – which the Philippines has largely turned to – comes under increasing environmental oppositions,” Fitch Solutions said in a research note dated September 4.

But the research note, entitled “Nuclear on the Cards in Philippines”, projected that no nuclear capacity would likely come online over the coming decade due to high capital costs, safety considerations and long lead times.

Fitch Solutions expects the Philippine power mix to remain dominated by coal over the coming decade, with the share of coal-fired power increasing from an estimated 54.6 per cent of total generation last year to 60.2 per cent by 2029.

“However, should nuclear power be reintroduced, coal will likely be the first generation type to face cuts, due to the increasing structural risks and ongoing public oppositions,” it said.

During the Marcos regime, Bataan Nuclear Power Plant was built at great cost to the government but this was mothballed due to safety concerns.

Fitch Solutions forecasts power consumption growth to pick up the pace to an annual average of 4.6 per cent between this year and 2029, despite the near-term headwinds arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

“We expect a surge in the Philippines’ power demand over the coming years, driven by strong macroeconomic and demographic growth, and government’s goals to achieve a 100 per cent electrification rate by 2022 under the Total Electrification Programme,” it said.

The think tank noted increasing traction toward nuclear energy of late, citing President Duterte’s executive order to formally study its feasibility.

The Department of Energy has been working closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency on the country’s nuclear power infrastructure development, which has made promising inroads, it added.

“Should nuclear be successfully introduced in the power mix, coal-fired power will face the highest risk of being displaced,” Fitch Solutions said.

It acknowledged that the government, however, remained highly committed to coal power generation, despite increasing opposition on the ground.

“The domestic financial sector has also shown no signs of moving away from coal.

“We stress that coal remains the cheaper and more reliable option to meet with the country’s power demand surge, particularly as resources in the Malampaya gas field deplete with limited scope for exploration success and infrastructural headwinds to LNG [liquefied natural gas] import capacity.

“Renewables have also faced many headwinds in development, and we do not expect a substantial ramp-up in this regard,” it said.

The note cited that Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corp allegedly inspected the existing Bataan facility in 2017, with the conclusion that the plant could become operational but would require repairs costing between $3 billion and $4 billion.



  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Cintri strike ends, workers’ contracts to be terminated

    CINTRI (Cambodia) Ltd rubbish collectors who have been on strike for the past 13 days agreed to return to work starting Wednesday evening after the company agreed to terminate their contracts at the end of January next year and provide seniority payments and other benefits to