By JUNE S. BLANCO
REP. Erico Aristotle Aumentado of Bohol’s 2nd District is looking at more sources of energy to meet the increasing demand of industries, and the population.
On top of fossil fuel, geothermal, hydro (water), solar and wind that are currently in use, top on the chair of the House committee on science and technology’s sights is nuclear power.
To allay people’s fears of a repeat of the Chernobyl, Russia and Fukushima, Japan nuclear plant accidents, however, Aumentado, together with Zamboanga del Norte 1st District Rep. Seth Frederick Jalosjos, filed House Bill 3651 seeking to create a nuclear energy regulatory body.
Aumentado said the proposed Philippine Nuclear Regulatory Commission (PNRC), under the Office of the President, will control and oversee the use of nuclear energy for peaceful and developmental purposes.
The commission, as described in the bill, is patterned after the regulatory bodies of Asia-Pacific countries like China, Indonesia, South Korea, Japan and others.
Its task will be consistent with the technology in the prevention of possible hazardous effect of nuclear power.
He said world history would show that nuclear-powered energy has not sown devastation in any country. Damages in Japan wrought by earthquake and tsunami were more devastating than that caused by Fukushima.
The proposed commission, he explained will be functioning with lessons learned from Fukushima and Chernobyl in mind.
He said it is about time that the country will develop nuclear technology. While so far solar energy has been successful, this cannot be expanded considering that the Philippines does not have the luxury of space.
If this is continually and limitlessly pursued, there will come a time that solar panels will encroach into agricultural lands. This means, he said, agricultural production will suffer. The best move, he added, will be to go nuclear – but with safety measures strictly imposed.
At the same time, attractive incentives will be offered to Filipino nuclear scientists to entice them to come home. They may work for the government, or for the private sector.
His bill, he assured, covers nuclear laws based on current international standards. It addresses gaps and omissions in radiological energy preparedness response, radioactive waste management, transport of radioactive materials, licensing of nuclear facilities and materials, among others.
The new source, he expects, will finally reach the farthest island barangays and most far-flung mountainous areas if the Philippines is to graduate from being a third world country into a developed one.
Apparently, the solon got his namesake father and immediate congressional predecessor Erico Boyles Aumentado’s visionary gene. He said he does not want the rug to be pulled out from under his feet: he does not want to wake up unprepared on the day that power has become insufficient.
Just like buildings are now designed to survive earthquakes of over 7.2 magnitudes and withstand super typhoons, he said he wants to develop and harness energy before the people will feel the pinch of power outages and their attendant inconvenience.