IAEA helps Philippines reassess Bataan

29 January 2008

An eight-strong team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has arrived in the Philippines to help assess the feasibility of rehabilitating the mothballed Bataan nuclear power plant.


The country's energy secretary Angelo Reyes told reporters that he expected the team's mission report to settle the question of whether to rehabilitate the plant or build a new one. He said that converting the unused plant to run on gas or another fuel, as had previously been mooted, would be too difficult.


According to a BusinessWorld report, the IAEA team is led by Akira Omoto, director of the agency's nuclear division; and also includes Zhang Jing, IAEA section head for Asia and the Pacific; Ki Sig Tang, technical officer at the nuclear division; David Greaves and Eric Weinstein, both technical officers at the nuclear safety and security division; in addition to independent experts on legal infrastructure and nuclear power from Australia, Brazil and Romania.


The first 620 MWe unit of the Bataan plant was completed in 1984 but was never fuelled or operated. The Philippines government finally paid off the cost of building the plant in April 2007. The plant now stands "preserved and well-maintained," according to Dennis Gana, corporate communications manager of plant owner National Power Corporation.


Reyes, who is open in his belief that the Philippines needs nuclear power, also said that the Philippine government had asked the team to recommend a policy framework to support nuclear energy in the longer term. The IAEA team's draft mission report is expected on 1 February.