Wednesday, June 11, 2008

nuclear power: once again—with feeling

During the days past and surely for the times yet ahead, the administration has started and will certainly continue to sound off the general public about its desire to revisit the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, i.,e., to go nuclear in response to the ever increasing prices of oil and everything else brought about by its use. The government as usual feels infallible, and wherefore sounds certain that the time has come to have recourse to nuclear power.

While it may not be altogether right and prudent to immediately condemn such an attention, considering the progressively worsening socio-economic realities in the country, it is but fair and just to ask the public authorities concerned certain definitely significant and highly relevant questions. It is to be expected that the national leadership has ever-ready answers thereto—considering its claimed superlative economic competence plus its acclaimed visionary projection. But just the same, the some questions remain in order.

First question: Safety. If the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant was found to be unsafe before—considering in particular its construction on a land with fault lines—what makes it safe now? Taking into account that the said Power Plant has been “mothballed” for decades, the question appears reasonable.

Second questions: Expertise. While the Filipinos are by and large gifted in the pursuit of various professions, to date the government is expected to have difficulty in finding really capable and enough Filipino nuclear experts to update, prepare and run the Plant. Or will it simply import foreign nuclear experts and thereby depend entirely on their presumed competence?

Third question: Money. With the financial destitution of the country translated in the poverty and misery of the people—in addition to its already immense unpaid local and foreign debts—will the government again and again take recourse to borrowing money from the usual financial oligarchy abroad with its dictatorial counter-impositions? And never mind if the Filipinos are the payors—usually forever?

And more important of all: Where on earth will the administration have the nuclear waste thrown, disposed; buried—or whatever? It appears that all countries having nuclear waste, consider their disposal a big and deep dark national secret. In the Philippines, this is fondly called “Presidential Privilege”. Translation: Keep the Filipinos ignorant and happy!

Needless to say, the Filipino People are the real and continuous stakeholder in the matter of the country going nuclear. The incumbent national leadership, the ruling administration, the government in authority came and will eventually go. But the People of the Philippines remain. Woe to those in power now if they dare go against the option of the Filipinos as a people.

11 June 2008