Monday, 8 March 2010

Cebu opens doors for new nuclear plant

Manila Bulletin

CEBU CITY – The provincial government of Cebu has formally opened its doors for consultation with stakeholders on the proposed siting of a nuclear power facility should the Philippine government clinches a deal for the nuclear facilities which may be auctioned off by Korea Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO).

A government-to-government deal is being pursued for the purchase of the KEDO nuclear facilities, prompting President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to formally write South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak on the Philippine government’s interest on the assets should these be set for auction or sale. The correspondence was reportedly channeled through Korea’s Ministry of Knowledge Economy.

The meeting with stakeholders last Thursday spearheaded by the provincial board of Cebu was attended by Pangasinan Representative Mark O. Cojuangco, the well-recognized proponent of the revival of nuclear power development program in the country.

The first site proposed for a nuclear facility in the country, besides the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, has been the lawmaker’s home province in Pangasinan.

According to Cojuangco, the proposed acquisition of the KEDO equipment and parts will enable the country to put up nuclear facilities in two sites with aggregate capacity of 2,080 megawatts which may command total investment of $5 billion. This could be for two plants of 1,000 MW capacity each to be anchored on Korean Standardized Nuclear Plants (KSNPs).

“With that investment cost for 2,000 megawatt capacity, you will already attain economies of scale.

And this will save the government time and resources as compared to building up a new nuclear plant,” he stressed.

Cojuangco disclosed that Cebu province, even prior to the planned technology transfer from Korea, has already been making its own studies on the possibility of hosting a nuclear power facility.

“Governor (Gwen) Garcia is very open-minded about nuclear power development and she told me of the studies they have been undertaking way before the proposals of reviving nuclear power development in the country. There are concerns raised about social impact, that’s why we already started explaining how some of these concerns be addressed, especially to the business sector in Cebu,” he said.

The major points being weighed by Cebu’s provincial government in considering the nuclear option had been the devastating effect of the brownouts; and the ensuing opportunity losses or cost impacts, primarily to businesses.

The deal being eyed by Philippine government would be to enter into a deal with the South Korean government for the former to purchase the KEDO technology, which were originally planned for nuclear power facilities of North Korea. Since the time that the facilities’ construction been halted in 2006, the KEDO facilities have been placed under the care of the Korea Electric Power Corporation, by government edict.

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