The Philippines exports its people to earn foreign exchange to, amongst other things, pay for imported fossil fuels to power the country. Families are broken up, parents absent for years at a time, and many of the brightest Filipino minds leave the country causing a significant brain drain. While its neighbours have experienced steady economic growth and improvement in standards of living, the Philippines has stagnated, burdened by high energy prices and unreliable power that has deindustrialized the country and discourages foreign investment and development.
Nuclear energy due to its low fuel and transporation costs and the ability to stockpile years of fuel onsite has the potential to deliver the energy security and the reliable power needed for economic development at an affordable cost and prevent the hemorrhaging of so many Filipino's from their country and families. It can also address the water and air pollution caused by coal ash which has significant impacts on the health of Filipinos.
What's most surprising is that there is a nuclear plant, Bataan, that was built in the 1980's that was 100% complete and ready for fuel loading but never actually brought online. It has stood idle for 36 years while the Filipino grid has been strained and electricity prices have been some of the highest in the world due to fossil fuel and shipping price volatility.
I am joined by Mark Cojuangco, a former Representative of 5th District of Pangasinan and the vice-chairman of Committee on Appropriations. He is the author of the House Bill 04631 that sought the immediate re-commissioning and commercial operation of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.