Former congressman Mark Cojuangco, PNRI advocate nuclear energy through online forum  

Date Posted: 10/27/2020

Tarlac State University hosted a forum to promote nuclear power as a clean, cheap, and reliable source of energy as well as to debunk its myths and misconceptions on October 23, 2020 during its 114th founding and 31st charter anniversary week-long celebration. 

Former Pangasinan representative Mark Cojuangco and Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) director Dr. Carlo A. Arcilla served as resource speakers for the said forum held via Zoom and Facebook Live. 

Hon. Cojuangco talked about the efficiency of nuclear power because of its energy density compared to coal and crude oil, and how the country will be able to save millions of pesos with its import savings cost where the money can be allocated to infrastructure development. 

He also focused on how nuclear energy is more environmentally friendly because of its zero emission and shared his personal experiences in visiting different nuclear power plants all over the country noting its socio-economic effect to citizens.  

Meanwhile, Dr. Arcilla shared fast facts and corrected the “fake news” about nuclear energy while setting straight the controversies surrounding the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) and the challenges involved in reviving its operations. 

Among the misconceptions he wanted to correct are the data on BNPP’s fault and volcanic risks, especially the West Marikina Valley Faulthazards on nuclear waste management, and the functionality of the power plant’s equipment and technology should the current government choose to make it operational highlighting that it only needs minimal renovations. 

His comparison of data from the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear power plants is a means to assure the audience of the safety and risk management of the BNPP.  

Pagbigyan niyo naman ang mga Pilipino na makatikim na murang kuryente, ng malinis na kuryente,” Dr. Arcilla said, if given a chance to address the coal industry, stating that the heads of coal plantations will be the only ones to object in the BNPP revival. 

He also promoted that the PNRI is giving scholarships to students nationwide as long as they enter a nuclear science or technology program.  

Questions asked via Zoom and Facebook Live were entertained on the second half of the forum.  

JC Pagunsan of Alpas Pinas, an advocacy group for nuclear energy in the Philippines convened by Cojuangco, also joined in answering questions from the TSU students.   

On October 15, Hon. Cojuangco and Dr. Arcilla were invited to speak in a similar forum organized by the Provincial Government of Tarlac which was attended by the stakeholders of the province including TSU. 

University president Dr. Myrna Q. Mallari did not let the opportunity pass and invited Hon. Cojuangco to present the benefits of nuclear energy to the TSU community. [Jodie Andrea Pangilinan]