WHY WE SHOULD GO NUCLEAR
The problem of high cost of power in the Philippines could be traced to the mothballing of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) in Morong, Bataan which was one of the major projects of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos. But because it would be putting the blame squarely on well-loved icons of popular uprising EDSA People Power that ousted a widely-hated dictator, we would not hazard to venture that far back in time, lest we commit “blasphemy”.
But here’s how: Upon ascension to power by the Cory government, one of the first acts was to stop the operation of the plant pointing to the inherent dangers in operating such a facility and alleged wide-scale corruption that attended its construction. Left out in the estimation was the fact that the BNPP was part of an overall long-term national energy plan inherited from the deposed regime. When the new government stepped in and decided the nuclear plant was a danger to national well-being instead, it had automatically created a huge gap in energy requirements that would take years to replace. Worse, lacking foresight, the new government did not bother to put in place any alternate plan to fill in for the deficit resulting from the mothballing of BNPP. Realization came only when eight-hour brownouts were already hitting the cities. You have such a situation, your economy runs to the ground— which it did.
Fidel Ramos was to have the unenviable responsibility of rescuing the situation upon the exit of Cory Aquino and his election to the presidency. Situation getting worse by the day, he had no choice but offer all the incentives and perks, including the stars and the moon, to woo investors to put in the money asap because each day of brownouts were causing untold ruin to the economy. Those incentives now we realize of late are penurious to consumers and industries.
Now, when the blame game gets going, we point our finger to Ramos. The old man, of course, gets mad each time but he can’t point his finger to Cory. Unthinkable it is to lay the blame on such a huge mess to one considered an icon of democracy.
So are we even reconsidering BNPP or another nuclear power plant, for that matter?
One obstacle could be this phobia for anything suggesting Marcos. What— prove that Marcos was correct! Not by a long shot.
In any case, here is one rabid anti-nuke explaining his 360-degree turnaround.
He has since changed his mind and left Greenpeace. Today, he is one of the most prominent advocates of nuclear power.
He explains why:
The reason I changed my mind on nuclear energy is fairly simple and it started with the fact that our initial campaign at Greenpeace was against nuclear weapons testing and against the use of nuclear weapons in general and the fear of an all-out nuclear war. It was during the Cold War, in the late 1960’s, early 1970’s. It was also the height of the Vietnam war…
So we were totally focused on the weapons side… we made the mistake of lumping nuclear energy in with nuclear weapons as if all things nuclear were evil…
… of course, one of the other good uses of nuclear reactors is to produce electricity for peaceful purposes.
… there are lots of different technologies that can be used for good and evil. So if we had said, we’re not going to use fire because you could burn a city with it”, then we will be foregoing the many beneficial uses of fire…
He takes a “moral” position on the issue:
We have no right— it’s an ethical and moral issue for me— that here we enjoy the benefits of modern technology… and yet some people among us think it is their duty to prevent other people from having the very technologies which have made it possible for themselves to have good and long lives.
And an essay by Moore: