Last update:
2020-08-02

Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in Morong, Philippines

The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant was built in 1984, but has never been operational owing to decades of activism and political engagement preventing it from functioning.


Description:

After the 1973 world oil crisis during which Arab oil exporting countries did an embargo, the Philippines began looking to nuclear power as a source of domestic energy. This led to an anti-nuclear movement throughout the late 70s and 80s to stop the construction of nuclear facilities and rid the country of US military bases allegedly housing nuclear weapons. The focal point of the movement was to take down the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP), 100 km west of Manila, which was heavily criticized owing to its location close to a volcano and in an active earthquake zone [11]. In 1976, during dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ martial law, the Pittsburgh, USA-owned Westinghouse Electric Corporation won a $2.34 billion contract, pushed by “special sales representative” Herminio Disini, to build the 620-megawatt plant. This was a clear case of corruption.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in Morong, Philippines
Country:Philippines
State or province:Bataan
Location of conflict:Morong
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Nuclear
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Nuclear power plants
Specific commodities:Electricity
Uranium
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Coal fuels half of the Philippines’ power grid, with natural gas and renewables each accounting for over a fifth and oil the rest. With an economy growing as fast as China’s, Manila expects energy consumption to triple to 67,000 MW by 2040. By tapping nuclear — where up-front investment is high but fuel costs are lower — electricity costs will drop, said Carlo Arcilla, director of the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute. “The biggest issue in the Philippines is that we have one of the most expensive power in the world,” he said [3].

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Level of Investment:3,240,000,000
Type of populationUrban
Start of the conflict:01/01/1976
Company names or state enterprises:Westinghouse Electric Corporation from United States of America
Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom) from Russian Federation
Relevant government actors:Philippine Senate, Philippine Congress, U.S. Embassy
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Nuclear Free Philippines Coalition (NFPC), Nuclear-Free Bataan (sister organization to Gloria Capitan’s Coal-Free Bataan), No Nukes Philippines, Greenpeace
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Women
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Blockades
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Strikes
Threats to use arms
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Refusal of compensation
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Fires, Genetic contamination, Soil contamination, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights
Potential: Increase in violence and crime
Outcome
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Criminalization of activists
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Court decision (undecided)
Repression
Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Violent targeting of activists
Application of existing regulations
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The antinuclear movement and former President Corazon Aquino successfully suspended the project many times, but plans to restart it keep resurfacing. Activists are currently trying to have the plant dismantled permanently.
Sources & Materials
Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[1] The New York Times. A Nuclear Plant, and a Dream, Fizzles (Onishi 2012)
[click to view]

[2] CenPEG. Lessons from the Anti-BNPP Struggle in the Philippines (Simbulan 2019)
[click to view]

[3] Japan Times. In power-hungry Philippines, some advocate a nuclear revival (Serapio & De la Cruz 2018)
[click to view]

[4] GMA News Online. Anti-nuke rallyists call for dismantling of Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (Esconde 2011)
[click to view]

[6] CS Monitor. Philippines Takes on US Corporate Giant (Albor 1993)
[click to view]

[5] Asian Power. Philippines mulls adding nuclear energy to power mix (2020)
[click to view]

[7] Punto. 3 anti-BNPP activists get death threats (Ramos 2009)
[click to view]

[12] Global Nonviolent Action Database. Filipinos protest against Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (Lehmann 2011)
[click to view]

[8] T ask Force Detainees of the Philippines. Harassment; red tagging of Emily Fajardo, a community organizer (2015)
[click to view]

[9] International Federation for Human Rights. Death threats PHL 001 / 0709 / OBS 093 (2009)
[click to view]

[10] Asian Human Rights Commission. Unsolved killings, disappearances, torture & arbitrary arrests (2009)
[click to view]

[11] Stanford University. Behind the Philippines' Only and Inactive Nuclear Plant (So 2019)
[click to view]

[13] The Pittsburgh Press. Police kill 20 demonstrators, wound 13 in Philippines (1985)
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Report on the June 1985 strike in Bataan. Race and Class. ZOLTAN GROSSMAN. Inside the Philippine resistance.
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Dalena Tran, ICTA-UAB, [email protected]
Last update02/08/2020
Comments
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