Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 6) — Russia is willing to offer anything they have for the development of the Philippines’ nuclear and space programs, according to Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev.
“Under President Putin, [we offer] our willingness to cooperate with your country in all aspects of this portfolio. I mean the use of nuclear energy for a peaceful purpose,” Khovaev told CNN Philippines’ The Source Tuesday.
During the Duterte administration’s official visit to Russia in May, the Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation (ROSATOM) signed a deal on the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
The agreement aims to develop cooperation in the use of atomic energy while complying with local and international laws on nuclear power.
Khovaev claimed despite controversies surrounding nuclear energy use in the Philippines, there were many other purposes for the energy source.
“The nuclear energy can be used in many different fields, including public care, agriculture, transportation and so on. It’s not necessarily to build a nuclear power station, nuclear power plant. It’s up to you,” he said.
Russia currently has 35 operating nuclear reactors giving 26,983 megawatts of electricity, according to the World Nuclear Association.
The first and only nuclear power station built to date in the Philippines is the defunct Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP), built during the regime of President Ferdinand Marcos.
The BNPP, located 100 kilometers west of Manila, was supposed to generate 623 megawatts of clean energy, but several issues with its cost and security prevented the plant from being operational.
Its construction began in 1976 and was 98% complete in 1984, costing around $2.3 million. BNPP took 10 years to build but is now on “preservation mode” since President Corazon Aquino refused to activate it in 1986.
The project was furthered mothballed because of the Chernobyl power plant disaster in the same year.
Until now, the government continues to pay ₱40 million to ₱50 million a year to maintain BNPP.
Khovaev also said that it appreciated the Philippines’ bilateral agreement in the field of space exploration.
“As you know, Russia is a great outer space power. We have a very rich experience in this respect. We have very highly skilled workers, engineers, scientists, sophisticated technologies, high-quality equipment,” he said.
Russia’s state space agency, ROSCOSMOS, is known for being a pioneer in space exploration, sending the first dog around Earth’s orbit in 1957, and the first woman cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova in 1963.
Russia is also part of the International Space Station (ISS) program, along with the United States, Japan, China and Europe.
On March 23, 2016, the Philippines launched its first microsatellite, Diwata-1, board an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida in the United States.
The microsatellite is a flagship project of the DOST meant not just to place the Philippines on the map of space innovation, but also to reap its contributions to agricultural productivity, food security, and even tourism.
Khovaev said Russia was ready to cooperate with the Philippines in future space projects.
“We are ready to cooperate with your country… So we are ready to offer anything we have,” he said.
(Article and Image from cnnphilippines.com)