Russian ambassador says Bataan nuclear plant will never be opened

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Bataan
The Marcos-era nuclear power plant in Bataan, which never went into operation, and now never will. Picture via Wikimedia Commons.

Russian Ambassador Igor Khovaev has poured cold water on proposals to revive the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.

Speaking to CNN PhilippinesThe Source, Khovaev described the technology in the plant as “absolutely outdated”.

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He said: ”The safety standards, the international standards are much, much higher than the standards on which the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant was built. So I think it’s not possible at all.”

Construction began in 1976 during the regime of President Marcos, the Bataan plant was the country’s first and only nuclear power station. However, it never went into operation due to concerns about safety, heightened after the Chernobyl disaster of 1986.

Khovaev’s statement comes after Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom conducted an assessment of the facility last August to determine if it was fit for commissioning.

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The Department of Energy signed a ‘memorandum of understanding’ with Rosatom during the Association of Southeast Asian Summit last November.

The Department of Science and Technology also signed an agreement with Rosatom on the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, which took effect in December. The agreement covers workshops, training of personnel and the exchange of scientific information.

Khovaev said Russia was open to sharing “sophisticated nuclear technology” in other fields, such as agriculture and public health.

“We have advanced nuclear technologies which allow the extended shelf life of fresh fruits and vegetables,” he said.

“If you are interested to export fresh fruits and vegetables to the Russian market, I think it must be useful. We can sign the relevant contracts.”

The ambassador also took a dig at the USA. He said: “I would like to remind you that unlike your traditional ally and partner, my country has never used nuclear weapons or any other weapon of mass destruction.”

The US dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to bring World War II to a close.

“So believe me please. I don’t see any reason to be worried here in the Philippines,” said Khovaev. “We are your partners, your friends, and everything we are doing in the field of weapons of mass destruction is in full compliance with international law.”

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