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The Philippines Could Run on Nuclear Energy by 2027

The government is serious about nuclear energy.
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The Philippines could join the exclusive club of nuclear-powered nations as early as 2027. According to the Department of Energy, it submitted a proposal to President Rodrigo Duterte to begin a nuclear power study.  If approved, the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute can begin work on how the country can run on nuclear energy with available equipment today. 

But instead of building nuclear power plants similar to the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, the Philippines is more inclined to import small modular reactors or SMRs, which are cheaper and more practical to install and maintain. 

The First Nuclear Reactor of the Philippines, Built in 1963, Located in Quezon City

Photo by Philippine Nuclear Research Institute.

In a press briefing held last month, energy secretary Alfonso Cusi bared plans for decarbonization or minimizing the country's carbon emissions through coal plants. At the center of that plan is the switch to nuclear reactors as primary energy sources.

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“Our Philippine Energy Plan already projects the inclusion of nuclear power in our energy mix by 2027. With the evolution of small modular reactors that are suitable for the off-grid or island areas of the Philippines, the possibility of establishing a modular power plant in the country might come sooner,” said Cusi. 

Why is nuclear energy better?

According to the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute, nuclear energy from a single piece of uranium the size of a pencil eraser can produce the same amount of energy as a ton of coal or three barrels of oil, or two tanks of natural gas. 

Photo by DOST-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute.

Nuclear power emits no greenhouse gases and is considered a clean energy source. The only byproduct is the steam from the water that is heated by the reactor. A nuclear reactor generates power through fission, which is the process of splitting uranium atoms to produce energy.

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The tremendous heat produced through fission boils water, which turns to steam. This steam is channeled through turbines, which spin and produce electricity. 

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor, Esquire Philippines
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