The continuous advancement of technology in today’s world requires an equally continuous increase in the need for fuel. Fuel is needed to power the machines involved in these technologies. In the Philippines various energy sources are tapped. Electricity is mainly derived from water power plants or geothermal power plants. Cars and airplanes are powered by oil imported from the Middle East.
Very few could probably still remember, but in the 1980s, an alternative energy source became available to the Filipinos—the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. This power plant cost the country billions of dollars to finish, but ultimately was never used. To this day, the country is paying the debt we have incurred in the construction of the power plant while it stands in the Bataan, without any foreseeable use.
The power plant was the brainchild of former president Ferdinand Marcos. In 1958, Marcos created the Philippine Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) with the goal of finding alternative uses for nuclear energy. In 1973, in response to the Middle East embargo levied by Middle Eastern countries as a result of the oil crisis back then, Marcos announced the decision to build a nuclear power plant in Bataan. The nuclear power plant would purportedly decrease, if not eliminate completely, the dependence of the Philippines on oil-rich countries in procuring oil for energy.
The construction of the plant was overseen by Westinghouse, an American contractor. The power plant, which cost over $2 billion was completed in 1984. In view of its cost, many were enthusiastic to finally put the plant to use, especially since Westinghouse promised that it would produces about 621 megawatts of electricity. But not everyone approved of the power plant. A good percentage of the populace, mostly from Bataan, sought to put the operation of the power plant to stop following the horrible events in the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl power plants.
In 1986, Marcos was overthrown and the administration—the Aquino administration—installed to replace him decided to discontinue the power plant, in view of the risks it posed. The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant fiasco just goes to show how costly inefficient government decisions can be.
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