NUCLEAR ENERGY AND THE COMMON PEOPLE

By Loejan S. Anudon


The proposed reactivation of the country’s foremost white elephant initiated by former Pangasinan 5th District Congressman Mark O. Cojuangco during his term is a topic that draws a varied range of reactions from antipathy, ambivalence to zealous enthusiasm.

The debate over the opening of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) in Morong, Bataan is approaching new heights what with the impending effects of global warming, increasing demand for electricity in the country and the recent catastrophe in the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.

Rotating brownouts in all parts of the country is crippling business establishments and industrial operations resulting in hundreds of billions if not trillions worth of losses. As demand for fuel rise so does the impact of increased carbon emissions escalate. All these and many other factors makes the need for a cleaner, economically viable form of alternative energy imperative in this country and until other solutions are developed, nuclear energy is the one technology that can provide cheap and readily available energy to meet the rising demand.

Nuclear power proponents struggle to edify the populace of the benefits of nuclear generated electricity and to break down misconceptions and fears. Some of the fears are understandable and rational, there are more that are exceedingly alarmist and without warrant; not based on fact, history and reality.

The reality is, in order to accomplish the many initiatives dreamed of for stimulating progress and to raise the standard of living for all its citizens, this country needs to ensure that an affordable and reliable energy source is available. Nuclear energy is the only cost effective and environmentally benign answer to accomplish that goal, compared to any other power generating technology.

However, before that goal is even possible, certain attitudes and ways of thinking among the people need to be overcome. Many concerns brought up by those who oppose the reactivation of BNPP are valid but all those obstacles can be worked though over time and in fact, most have already been analyzed with solutions proven over decades of successful operating history of the nuclear energy industry.

Aside from the technicalities of operating a nuclear plant, it is more difficult to counter the general population’s mindset, misconceptions and fear that spreads so much easier than facts.

France, one of the most successful and largest consumers of nuclear energy, for instance, has been very successful in explaining the complex facts of nuclear power generation to its people so that it is easily digestible and more acceptable.  This really, when you remove the stigma of it as “nuke”, can be as simple as any of the technologies and innovations that we already embrace.

Former congressman Mark Cojuangco, the most visible advocate for the revitalization of the BNPP acknowledges the fact that, given the prevailing cynical mindset, it is an uphill battle to spread truthful facts about nuclear energy and dispel many of the alarmist and over exaggerated rumors floating about.

But if one is truly earnest in raising the Filipino people above their present status and enable them to avail the advantages of progress, one must look to the future as many of our Asian neighbors already are doing by providing them with the resources to fulfill that destiny.

That means providing them with the infrastructures, the social services and most importantly, the physical and real empowerment made possible by nuclear power, an enabling technology that will allow the progress and self-sufficiency.
Yet, acquiescence to these advancements does not come in a hot pan-de-sal. Filipinos in general, particularly the common people, are noted being aloof and pessimistic, veiled as extra cautious, in subscribing to modern technologies. Will it kill people? Is it detrimental to health? Is it expensive? These are some of the common queries that are without the constructive criticisms, what good does it offer? What are our advantages? Both queries should go together and not one without the other in giving in to modern science in an aim to attain self-sufficiency. Once asked, “Congressman, why couldn’t the BNPP open despite continuous corroboration from nuclear experts that it is safe to operate?” He looked at an empty space for a moment and said, “Irrational fear!”

The Philippines is rich in natural resources and the Filipino aptitude constantly amazes the world, yet we remain one of the poorest and under developed countries in Asia. Do we want to continue as servants in other lands or do we want to take our own destinies at hand and work together to put in place all the necessary foundations to make something like a simple nuclear power plant serviceable in our country?

Why not start the road to progress here, in the existing BNPP structure? It will be a relatively easy and straight forward task to get this one structure up and running being that it is already built, paid for, and now proven to be much superior in its design basis to those in Fukushima. It will open the doors to the dawn of a new “people owned” power industry that will usher in a new era of prosperity for Filipinos.


Aside from the technicalities of operating a nuclear plant, it is more difficult to counter the general population’s mindset, misconceptions and fear that spreads so much easier than facts.

Comment: BNPP will cause stillbirth to pregnant women who comes near to it! … Politician

Ans: WRONG! You can stand beside the operating BNPP for one year and not getting as much radiation you acquire from eating one banana fruit.

Comment: The BNPP will kill us like what happened in Chernobyl!

… People opposed to BNPP

Ans: FALSE! The Chernobyl was a plant specifically designed to make nuclear arms at the height of the U.S. and Russia war that was converted into a power plant. Practically, it was not designed as to the requirements of a nuclear power plant.

Comment: The BNPP will kill us like what happened in Three Mile Island! … Alarmists

Ans: FALSE! No one was hurt or killed in Three Mile Island

Comment: The BNPP was permanently closed because of enumerable faults found by experts… People opposed to BNPP

Ans: FALSE! Experts who conducted the inspection submitted “add-in” requirements for the safety of the plant and all were complied with to detail.

SOME DO NOT WANT US TO SUCCEED! A sad event if true

By 5thdistrictpangasinan Posted in Others

One comment on “NUCLEAR ENERGY AND THE COMMON PEOPLE

  1. Happy Mother’s Day to Congresswoman Kimi Cojuangco, the mother of Pangasinan
    Fifth District. The same goes to Dhang Manaois and other staff and all the mothers in the Philippines and in the world. Please pass the RH bill. Thank you very much po!

    Best regards and bountiful blessings to all of you and your families!

    Loreto Quevedo Dimaandal and family and friends

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s