Green group to Duterte: say no to nuclear EO


An energy think-tank on Wednesday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to reject the proposal for the issuance of an executive order (EO) for the inclusion of nuclear energy in the country’s energy mix.

Following the announcement of Spokesperson Salvador Panelo that the President is currently studying the said proposition from DOE Secretary Al Cusi, the Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED) said that nuclear energy would only be an obstruction to the development of truly reliable and safe electricity from renewables and would unnecessarily expose Filipinos to extreme risks.

“We are all aware of the nuclear disasters of Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and Fukushima. We need not grant nuclear energy the opportunity to wreak the same havoc upon Filipinos, especially in this worsening climate change situation,” said Gerry Arances, Executive Director of CEED.

Arances also expressed concern about the financial burden nuclear energy will impose on consumers.

“It would also expose consumers to more costly electricity, because fuel used to generate nuclear power would have to be imported. Entertaining the exploration of nuclear technology is nothing but a distraction that would keep us from tapping the 250 GW of electricity that the Department of Energy itself said can be gleaned from renewable energy,” he added.

Bishop Gerry Alminaza of the Diocese of San Carlos, a vocal advocate of renewable energy, also expressed his opposition to the said proposal.

“I am greatly concerned with the proposed Executive Order said to be drafted by Secretary Al Cusi which would include nuclear power in our energy mix. Instead of empowering our people, energy from nuclear activities threatens human life and the lives of creatures big and small,” lamented Alminaza.

Alminaza reminded the President of his directive just last year that was warmly welcomed by groups promoting clean energy.

“We hope and pray that President Rodrigo Duterte will not turn back on his word in the 2019 SONA which charged the DOE with the task of promoting renewable energy, a cheaper and safer source of energy compared to the possible holocaust risked with nuclear power,” he said.

The group also noted that Secretary Cusi has consistently avoided following the President’s directive on renewable energy in his time as the department’s head.

“It seems that Secretary Cusi is moving heaven and earth to avoid obeying the President. It was him who defended the country’s continued dependence on coal when President Duterte called for its reduction last year; now the secretary once again actively tries to pave the path for highly risky nuclear energy,” said Arances.

The think tank chief called on the President to instead put teeth to his SONA directive by signing an EO on renewable energy development.

“We urge President Duterte not to sign this EO and instead reinforce his directive to Secretary Cusi to make renewables our primary energy source. The issuance of an Executive Order to fast-track renewable energy development would be much more welcome,” said Arances.