The Philippines should consider shifting to nuclear energy if it wants a taste of cheap and safer electricity, an American environmentalist said Wednesday.
Nuclear advocate and Environmental Progress president Michael Shellenberger said shifting to nuclear energy will help the Philippines eradicate poverty and protect the environment.
“In the Philippines, energy is just too expensive. [M]oving to nuclear electricity gives you cheaper and cleaner energy,” he said during his TED Talk before the Department of Energy-Nuclear Energy Programme Implementing Organization.
“Nuclear actually produces the least amount of air pollution of all energy sources,” he added, noting that the Philippines imports 90 percent of its energy.
The environmentalist likewise stressed the economic benefits of shifting to a cheaper source of electricity.
Island nations like the Philippines, Shellenberger said, need nuclear energy to create high-paying jobs and save billions spent importing coal, oil and natural gas. He stressed that renewables like solar and wind are too expensive, unreliable and require too much land area.
“Wind and solar don’t generate electricity most of the time. In the Philippines every year, solar generates only 15 percent of the time,” he said. “So you have to basically pay for electricity twice: for the solar panels and for power plants to operate when the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing.”
Shellenberger said that around the world, from the United States and Europe to South Korea and Taiwan, people are beginning to overcome their fears by voting to reinstate their nuclear plants for economic and environmental reasons.
He belied “ridiculous” claims that nuclear plants were vulnerable to terrorism, saying that the Philippines, in the first place, does not have the facilities to process nuclear bombs.
“Nuclear energy is the safest way to make electricity. It produces no deadly smoke. While people were scared of Fukushima and other accidents, the only harm was from panic, not radiation, which proves that our fears of nuclear are more dangerous than the technology,” he said.
Shellenberger said stakeholders should utilize social media to begin discussing the “importance” of shifting to nuclear energy.
“It’s really important for ordinary Filipinos to become active on this issue. Social media has been a very powerful tool,” Shellenberger said.
“It’s surprising that this thing (nuclear) that we think is most dangerous is in fact the safest. This thing that we think kills people actually saves lives. This thing that we associate with the military is actually a tool for peace. This thing that we associate with the past is actually the future,” he added.
According to the Energy department, total power nationwide demand for 2019 is seen to peak at 11.2 gigawatts in Luzon, nearly four percent higher than the 10.8 gw last year. The sector warned that demand will continue to rise with population growth and the acceleration of economic development.
“Supply will be tight and demand will be high, and the reserves will be just enough given the scheduled maintenance,” DOE said.
The Philippines has yet to utilize the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Powerplant which was built in 1976 as one of the big-ticket projects of the Marcos administration.