Friday 9 June 2017

Russia to help the Philippines develop its Nuclear Power and Space Programs

President Rodrigo Duterte official visit in Russia seems to be paying its dividends.

President Duterte and Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hand during the formers official visit in Russia last month (photo credit to owner)
Early this week during an interview with CNN Philippines, Russian Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev said that Russia is more than willing to offer anything they have for the development of the Philippines’ nuclear and space programs.

"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.

During the abrupted Official visit of the President in Russia last month, the country’s Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and Russia's State Atomic Energy Corporation (ROSATOM)  has signed a deal  on the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

The aim of the agreement is to develop cooperation in the use of atomic energy while complying with local and international laws on nuclear power.

The Philippines was the first if not the pioneer  country in Southeast Asia to entertain the use of Nuclear energy, we started constructing our own Nuclear powered plant in 1976.

Ambassador Khovaev claims that despite negative perceptions/controversies surrounding the use of nuclear energy use in the Philippines, there are still 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 thirty five (35) operating nuclear reactors giving 26,983 megawatts of electricity, according to the World Nuclear Association (WNA).

Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP)

During the presidency of the late President Ferdinand Marcos, the first and only nuclear power plant was built in the country- the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).

Its construction began in 1976 and was 98% complete in 1984, costing around $2.3 million. BNPP took 10 years to build. Since assuming power 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.

Space Exploration

Both countries also had a 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

"We are ready to cooperate with your country... So we are ready to offer anything we have," he said.

The Philippines historic launch of its first microsatellite, Diwata-1, last March 23, 2016 on board an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida in the United States , was 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.

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