Fisherfolk group cautions against plan to explore nuclear power
Franco Luna (Philstar.com) – October 9, 2019 – 8:52pm
MANILA, Philippines — A fisherfolk’s federation on Wednesday warned against exploring the use of nuclear power, which the Philippines and Russia have agreed to look into after President Rodrigo Duterte’s five-day official visit there.
According to the Palace, among the agreements signed during the president’s Russia trip, was on the “intention to jointly explore the prospects of cooperation in the construction of nuclear power plants.”
But Pamalakaya National Chairperson Fernando Hicap said considering nuclear power is “foolishness” that invites tragedy.
“Mga malalakas na bagyo nga ay hindi pa nakaka-rekober ang mga mamamayan dahil inutil ang gubyerno sa rehabilitasyon, iyan pang nuclear-nuclear na iyan ang inaatupag nila,” Hicap, former Anakpawis party-list representative, said.
(The people have not even recovered from strong typhoons because the government is failing at rehabilitation, and they’re looking at nuclear power instead)
Hicap said the country is vulnerable to earthquakes and typhoons, making nuclear energy impractical.
Citing a hazard map by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Pamalakaya said the country is on the Pacific Ring of Fire and is vulnerable to earthquakes “predominantly at Degree VII to XII of the modified Mercalli Scale on earthquake intensity.” Under the Mercalli scale, Intensity VII earthquakes are “very strong” and XII earthquakes are “extreme.”
Duterte himself has said he has apprehensions toward the project because it would be against the 1987 Constitution, which declares in Article II Section 8 that the country “adopts and pursues a policy of freedom from nuclear weapons in its territory.”
“The Constitution would not like it. That is why I have to talk to the Cabinet. I cannot affirm or deny that because that’s part of the proposals,” the President said to reporters on Sunday upon returning from his visit to Russia.
In a related statement, Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country is interested in “promoting industrial cooperation and joint projects in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.”
But Hicap stressed: “Dumi nga ng tao hindi na-secure ng MWSS at umabot pa sa Manila Bay, radioactive water pa. Ibang bansa nga tulad ng Japan, namo-mroblema kung saan itatapon ang nakakalasong tubig mula sa Fukushima nuclear power plant, tayo pang wala ngang sariling industriya. Kaya tigilan na yang kalokohan na iyan.”
(The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System cannot even secure human waste, which ends up in Manila Bay, what more radioactive water? Other countries like Japan are having problems on how to dispose of the poisonous water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, what more a country like ours that does not have its own industries? So, forget that foolishness.)
The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, completed in the early 1980s, has never been commissioned due to fears raised by the 1979 Three Mile Island and 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accidents, concern about a nearby fault line, and concerns over the project’s integrity.