By Arjane Faith Paala


Amid calls for reviving the Marcos-era controversial white elephant, a Filipino-American geologist from the University of Illinois has slammed claims of the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) that the rehabilitation of Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) is safe, completely disregarding the possible dangers of a volcano within the area.

In an Advocates of Science and Technology for the People webinar on Saturday, Professor Emeritus for Environmental Science Kelvin Rodolfo emphasized how Mount Natib, located within Bataan, is one of the worst risks that comes along with the power plant's planned revival by the PNRI.

Although the volcano is dormant and has no existing record of eruption, it still imposes danger as it is classified as "potentially active" by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).

Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) Director Carlo Arcilla has been proposing the inclusion of the nuclear plant in a nuclear program, in which several countries have taken interest in. 

He previously claimed there is no fault line running through BNPP, contrary to geologist Mahar Lagmay's findings in 2009.

“[The] Lubao fault passes through Natib volcano and comes out right at BNPP," said Lagmay, executive director of the University of the Philippines (UP) Project NOAH.

Rodolfo has urged neighboring Asian countries to resist the reactivation of Southeast Asia's first and only nuclear power plant especially because of its chemical risks to the residents living nearby.

In the same webinar, Joshua Agar, a UP professor and structural engineer, urged the government to focus on safer and more sustainable energy sources instead.

The idea of reopening BNPP was brought back in the Duterte administration and with President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s pledge to consider nuclear energy in an attempt to control the alarming hike of electricity costs in the country.

Edited by Nehmia Elyxa Relano