Nuclear Reactor functional after 34 years, start of nuclear

After 34 years, the Philippines finally has a functional nuclear reactor. However, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute made it possible for this nuclear reactor to be a research reactor (PNRI).

It will act as a hub for the study and education of scientists, engineers, and potential operators of nuclear power plants in the Philippines.

Aiming to be completely operational by 2023 is the Philippine Research Reactor 1 – SATER (Subcritical Assembly for Training, Education, and Research), also known as SATER. It is situated in Quezon City.

Photo from Gino Aliperio

With the issue of Executive Order 164 on February 28, it is undoubtedly a significant step toward a nuclear-powered Philippines. In order to address the Philippines’ issue with insufficient electricity supply, the Duterte administration’s executive order calls for the incorporation of nuclear energy as a source of energy supply.

If you’ve just learned about the PNRI through this article, you might be asking what and who they are. Well, fast trivia, the PNRI is required by Executive Order 128 to carry out the following duties:

  • Conduct research and development on the application of radiation and nuclear techniques, materials and processes.
  • Undertake the transfer of research results to end-users, including technical extension and training services.
  • Operate and maintain nuclear research reactors and other radiation facilities.
  • License and regulate activities relative to production, transfer and utilization of nuclear radioactive substances.

As of June 23, 2022, all 44 fuel rods had been successfully loaded into the TRIGA (Training, Research, Isotopes, General Atomics) subcritical reactor, according to the widely shared article in the PNRI.

“SATER WILL SUPPORT THE COUNTRY’S CAPACITY BUILDING IN NUCLEAR AND REACTOR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, PROVIDE A RESEARCH FACILITY FOR ACADEMIC AND RESEARCH INSTITUTIONS, DEMONSTRATE RESEARCH REACTOR OPERATION AND UTILIZATION AND PROVIDE SUPPORT FOR NUCLEAR MANPOWER DEVELOPMENT FOR THE NUCLEAR POWER PROGRAM OF THE COUNTRY,” 

– ROWENA CRISTINA GUEVARA, DOST UNDERSECRETARY FOR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

Historically speaking, SATER was shut down in 1988—34 years ago—as a result of the contentious decision to halt operations at the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) in 1986.

As with previous nuclear tragedies in history, the cancellation has instilled dread and concern in the public. However, DOST claims that PRR-1 SATER is intrinsically safe as a facility for nuclear education and research because of its subcritical and zero-power configuration.

The research reactor will help UP Diliman and Mapua University’s nuclear education programs, in addition to restoring the nation’s nuclear capacity.

+1
0
+1
2
+1
1
+1
0
+1
0
+1
0
+1
0

Enter your email and get notified when new content is added!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend