May 16th, 2023
The House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) approved today the unnumbered substitute bill to the Philippine National Nuclear Energy Safety Act, sent to the tax panel by the House Committee on Nuclear Energy. The bill is principally authored by Representatives Mark Cojuangco, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and Salceda.
The bill establishes a Philippine Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority, sets up a comprehensive legal framework for radiation safety, and standards for the peaceful utilization of nuclear energy. The bill also sets the requirements for authorization and regulation of nuclear energy applications. The House tax panel revised tax provisions which the nuclear energy panel accepted.
In subsequent remarks, Salceda said that “it is high time to finally provide for a guiding framework to harness nuclear energy in the country.”
“Let’s stop scaring ourselves and let the science and history guide our decisions on nuclear energy.”
“Import dependence on coal and oil, the long-term effects of fossil fuel consumption on health and climate, the instability of other energy sources, as well as the land area needed by most renewable sources all point to nuclear as a necessary, if not inevitable, option for a country with our population size,” Salceda said.
“Nuclear can produce energy for as low as P1.50 per kilowatt-hour in generating costs. Of course, I understand the valid criticisms of nuclear energy.”
“But, nuclear energy cannot be a yes-or-no question, where we simply choose to completely ignore it forever. If the question is safety, what we must ask ourselves is how to make nuclear energy safe, not to abandon it altogether.”
“Due to fossil fuel use, estimates range from 11,000 to 27,000 premature deaths per year. Nuclear pollution will only cause 1 death every 33 years. Just below solar energy, it is the safest form of energy, and it is baseload, unlike solar.”
“So, I am, like my fellow authors open to arguments centered on the science. But without a guiding framework to begin with, no meaningful debate can take place.”