MANILA (Mabuhay) – Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Tuesday welcomed Malacañang’s openness to convert the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) as a natural gas-powered facility amid the worsening power situation in the country.
“I welcome that direction. I think it’s a practical step, together with other strategies, towards attaining a sustainable solution to our power woes,” Marcos said.
Earlier, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said the proposal to convert the BNPP into a gas-powered plant would be studied carefully by the government.
The BNPP was built in Morong, Bataan during the administration of Marcos’ father, the late former President Marcos, but has remained idle since its completion in 1984.
The suggestion to convert the mothballed BNPP into a natural gas plant was triggered by concerns over the lingering and worsening state of power supply.
Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla had reportedly predicted massive brownouts due to expected 200-megawatt shortage in the summer of 2015.
Marcos said the government should gather the state’s energy executives and private stakeholders to conduct the study.
“I support the idea of conducting a study on whether the BNPP can be converted into a natural gas-powered plant. The BNPP is one practical option whether it will be gas-powered or something else as long as it’s doable and acceptable,” Marcos said.
In a privilege speech last June by Oriental Mindoro Rep. Rey Umali, chair of the House Committee on Energy, he said the BNPP, if operated using a natural gas, would generate up to 1,800 megawatts.
Meanwhile, Senator Serge Osmeña III, chairman of the Senate committee on energy, said he does not believe the BNPP will produce 1,800 megawatt once converted into natural gas-powered plant.
”Where they get that number? Anybody can say anything but I mean, that plant was built for 600 megawatt so how you can make it 1,800?,” Osmeña said in a media interview.
If the government would study the conversion of the BNPP, Osmeña said: “Good luck to them.”
”They’re studying everything for the past 20 years,” Osmena added. (MNS)