No active fault beneath Bataan nuclear plant, says scientist

Director of the University of the Philippines’ National Institute of Geological Sciences, Carlo Arcilla, on Friday denied that there is an active fault beneath the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).

Arcilla said his team had conducted about five different tests that showed that the fault under the plant is not active.

He also noted that there has been no “surface manifestation” caused by an active fault under the building.

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Filipino engineers, he said, are well equipped to maintain and operate the facility.

Arcilla however said that the BNPP would have done worse in a natural disaster similar to Fukushima, Japan’s oldest power plant.

The Fukushima incident, he said, was not caused directly by the earthquake but by the diesel plants, which are used to cool reactors.

According to the website of the World Nuclear Association, following a major earthquake, a 15-meter tsunami disabled the power supply and cooling of three Fukushima Daiichi reactors, causing a nuclear accident on March 11, 2011. All three cores largely melted in the first three days, it said.

Arcilla meanwhile said that to meet safety standards, any nuclear power plant should be approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency prior to its operation.

Some 460 nuclear power plants are operating around the globe.

President Rodrigo Duterte has sought a study on the 623-megawatt (MW) BNPP, which will serve as the basis for a decision on whether or not the plant would be operated. The BNPP has been preserved since 1986 but had already produced 5 MW when it was tested in 1984.

The National Power Corp. has estimated the facility’s maintenance cost at PHP40 million to PHP50 million per year. (PNA)



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