PHL aims to add 1,200-MW nuclear power capacity using innovative SMR technologies

In a strategic move to diversify its energy mix, the Philippines’ Department of Energy (DOE) has announced an ambitious plan to integrate 1,200 megawatts (MW) of nuclear power into the national grid by 2032, utilizing cutting-edge Small Modular Reactor (SMR) technologies.

During a press interview in Taguig City, DOE Secretary Raphael Lotilla confirmed the government’s commitment to leveraging advanced nuclear technologies to meet the country’s increasing energy demands. “We are gearing up for the commercial rollout of certain nuclear technologies… planning for an early 2032 debut. Starting modestly with 1,200 MW,” stated Secretary Lotilla.

Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara highlighted the DOE’s Clean Energy Scenario (CES) 1 at the B2B Matching to Support Energy Transition event, outlining the trajectory for nuclear energy’s contribution to the Philippines’ power sector.

According to CES 1 projections, the initial 1,200 MW capacity from eight 150-MW SMRs could be supplemented by an additional 1,200 MW by 2035 and a further 2,400 MW by 2050.

The Manila Electric Company (Meralco) has initiated exploratory talks with the American-based Ultra Safe Nuclear Corp. (USNC) to assess the feasibility of micro-modular reactors.

Concurrently, AboitizPower Corp. is investigating potential collaborations with NuScale Power Corp. and USNC in the burgeoning sector.

The DOE is not limiting its focus to just SMR technologies but is also revisiting the viability of traditional nuclear reactors, like the dormant Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).

DOE revealed ongoing discussions with Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co., Ltd. (KHNP) to conduct an exhaustive feasibility study on BNPP, which could potentially pave the way for its future as a nuclear energy source.

Approximately 12 sites, predominantly in the western regions of the Philippines, are under evaluation as possible locations for nuclear facilities. This strategic site selection is integral to the country’s long-term energy planning.

Amidst the push for nuclear energy, Secretary Lotilla emphasized that safety remains the top priority. The government is intent on establishing stringent safety and regulatory standards before the development of any nuclear power plants.

“The impending legislation on nuclear safety is crucial and must be instituted before we advance further,” Lotilla asserted.