By Philippine News Agency and MB Online
The fault beneath the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant is not active, a geology expert from the University of the Philippines said on Friday, November 25.
National Institute of Geological Sciences director Carlo Arcilla said results from about five different tests his team had conducted showed that aside from the fault under the plant being inactive, there has been no “surface manifestation” caused by an active fault under the building.
But Arcilla said while Filipino engineers are well-equipped to maintain and operate the facility, the BNPP would have done worse in a natural disaster similar to Fukushima, Japan’s oldest power plant.
On March 11, 2011, the 9.0-magnitude earthquake that shook northern Japan unleashed a 15-meter tsunami that knocked down the power supply and diesel plants used to cool three of the reactors in the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, leading to a nuclear meltdown.
Some 460 nuclear power plants are operating around the world. Arcilla said any nuclear power plant should be approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency prior to operation to meet safety standards.
President Rodrigo Duterte has sought a study on the 623-megawatt (MW) BNPP in Morong, Bataan, which will serve as the basis for a decision whether or not to commission the plant.
Built by former president Ferdinand Marcos in 1976, the BNPP managed to produce 5 MW of power in an initial test in 1984.
But it has remained idle since 1986 after Marcos’ ouster, largely due to cost overruns of up to $2.3 billion, construction concerns, and nuclear safety fears following the 1979 Three Mile Island incident in the U.S. and the subsequent 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine.
Concerns were also raised over its proximity to a geological fault line and the then-dormant Mount Pinatubo volcano.
The National Power Corporation has estimated the facility’s maintenance cost at P40 million to P50 million a year.
Tags: active fault, Bataan, Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, BNPP, Carlo Arcilla, Manila Bulletin, National Institute of Geological Sciences, No active fault beneath Bataan nuclear plant says scientist, Rodrigo Duterte, University of the Philippines