Thursday, March 5, 2009

Statement Calling for Rejection of the Proposal to Recommission the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant

The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant is not safe, not economically sound, not insurable, not sustainable. It is tainted with corruption.

The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) located in Morong, Bataan was constructed during the martial law regime of then President Ferdinand E. Marcos. Westinghouse was contracted to build this light water reactor, designed to produce 621 megawatts of electricity as response to the growing energy requirements of the country. While the original loan was $600M for two units, it ballooned to $2.3 billion for one unit.

After Marcos left the country after the peaceful People Power Revolution, Westinghouse withdrew from the project in 1986. In 1988, the Aquino government commissioned a series of assessment studies focused on two concerns (Saguisag, Statement on the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant dated January 9, 1991) with the end view of determining whether the facility could be opened: “First, and foremost, serious questions had been raised by responsible parties on whether the BNPP was safe as designed and constructed. Second, there had been persistent rumours and speculation that he (Marcos) had been bribed in connection with the award of the BNPP contracts.” (Saguisag 1991)

In these contexts, a United Nations-funded study secured through the support of the Centre on Transnational Corporations, revealed that the Westinghouse-abandoned project since then carefully maintained in a state of preservation by the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) “did not meet applicable regulatory and contractual requirements.” (Saguisag 1991) Moreover, the government-commissioned report June 1988 “confirmed that serious design, construction, and quality assurance problems existed in the plant . . . and recommended that a further, more extensive examination be undertaken to investigate known problem areas and to examine others not yet reviewed.” (Saguisag 1991) James Keppler, a former senior official of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission responsible for inspection and licensing, described the overall results of a year-long study ending in September 1990 conducted by American and European nuclear experts on the BNPP compiled in twenty-eight (28) volumes as revealing

“. . . the pervasive and significant deficiencies in the design, construction, quality assurance and startup testing of BNPP. The identified deficiencies are so pervasive and severe---that the plant cannot be expected to operate safely and without undue risk to public health and safety until those deficiencies and their generic implications are satisfactorily resolved.” (Saguisag 1991)

The records brought by the fleeing President Marcos and impounded by US law enforcement in Hawaii show that “. . . he shared, directly or indirectly, in millions of dollars of ‘commissions’ paid by Westinghouse and Burns and Roe . . . and also benefited personally in other ways from the plant. There is no question that the BNPP contracts were tainted by corruption.” (Saguisag 1991) {Underlining ours}

Based on these findings, the BNPP was mothballed by the Aquino government.


GREEN CONVERGENCE for Safe Food, Healthy Environment, and Sustainable Economy, a social movement of environmental non-governmental organizations and various networks/coalitions, appeals to Congress not to recommission the BNPP and for civil society to resist attempts for the same. We base our positions on the following reasons:
  • BNPP sits on the slope of Mt. Natib, a volcano, and is surrounded by 2 other volcanoes, Mt. Pinatubo and Mt. Mariveles. An eruption by any of these could result in mechanical or nuclear problems which could release radioactive material into the air, water and soil.
  • The plant has numerous serious technical defects
  • Thee cost of recommissioning which, at the time of the studies pointed to $1 billion. It should be much more now that global safety standards are higher.
  • Disposal of nuclear waste will be a problem. As yet, no nation has addressed this problem satisfactorily.
  • Radioactivity is associated with routine operations of nuclear power plants
  • Insurance companies are staying away from nuclear power plants. What chance does the defective BNPP have of being insured?
  • Nuclear power is not for the Philippines, being situated on the juncture of 4 tectonic plates and is thus extremely geologically active.
  • the Philippines has a lot of sources of renewable energy. Geothermal and wind power, separately and together are computed to be able to meet all of our energy requirements. Each has much lower capital and operational costs. Solar energy has just been tapped to contribute to our electricity grid and holds much potential.
In solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Bataan and for a nuclear-safe country:

Stop the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant!

The GREEN CONVERGENCE includes many organizations and the following networks: Magkaisa Junk JPEPA (MJJ) Coalition, Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), No to GMOs Coalition, Anti-Laiban Campaign, EcoWaste Coalition, Philippine Federation for Environmental Concerns (FPEC), Environmental Education Network of the Philippines (EENP), and Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Commission (JPICC) - Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP).


Dr. Angelina P. Galang
Coordinator, GREEN CONVERGENCE
(Mobile Number: 0917 8538841
Email address: GreenConvergence@gmail.com or ninagalang@ymail.com
c/o: Environmental Studies Institute (ESI), Miriam College, Quezon City

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