Philippines could revive nuclear plant if Marcos wins presidency

MORONG- A mothballed nuclear power plant built near a fault line and volcanoes in the Philippines during Ferdinand Marcos’s dictatorship could be revived if his son wins next week’s presidential election. The $2.2 billion Bataan plant became a monument to the greed and graft of the Marcos era, and was left dormant after the dictator was toppled in 1986. Even before the Chernobyl nuclear accident that year sealed its fate, there were concerns about Bataan’s design and location. The plant sits on the coast 18 metres (59 feet) above sea level and near several volcanoes in a part of the Philippines regularly shaken by earthquakes. Yet Ferdinand Marcos Junior has vowed to speed up the adoption of nuclear power if he is elected and has left open the possibility of resuscitating his father’s failed venture.  “We really have to look at nuclear power,” Marcos Jr said in March, insisting at least one plant was needed to cut exorbitant electricity prices in the country. Marcos Jr, also a fan of wind, solar and geothermal technology, said a South Korean proposal to rehabilitate the Bataan plant should be revisited. “Let’s look at it again,” he said. Studies by South Korean and Russian experts showed it was possible to get the 620-megawatt plant working again, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi told a Senate hearing in 2020. But upgrading an ageing facility fitted with outdated analogue technology could take at least four years and cost another $1 billion.