The House Special Committee on Nuclear Energy chaired by Pangasinan Representative Mark Cojuangco continued deliberations on the proposal seeking to create the Philippine Atomic Regulatory Commission (PARC).
The independent commission, as proposed in the substitute bill to House Bill 7049, would provide a comprehensive technical and legal safety framework for nuclear energy use and application in the country.
Global Nuclear Energy (GNE) Advisor Atty. Helen Cook emphasized that the regulatory commission’s function is to make decisions regardless of the impact on energy planning.
“They are there to protect people, property and the environment from any potential safety and security or safeguard issues.”
“They are there to protect people, property and the environment from any potential safety and security or safeguard issues,” Cook explained.
She underscored that the commission’s independence is crucial, being one of the core principles of the Convention on Nuclear Safety’s core principles and a key takeaway from the Fukushima nuclear accident.
“It will be answerable to some entity within the government framework but it cannot be answering to, or having policy directed to it by other ministries or agencies that is involved in the promotion of nuclear energy,” Cook explained.
“The commission’s independence is important because it no longer needs to seek another government agency’s approval, especially when it comes to safety issues.”
Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) Director Dr. Carlos Arcilla said that the commission’s independence is important because it no longer needs to seek another government agency’s approval, especially when it comes to safety issues.
Cook stated that the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) law provides a great structure for the entire legal and regulatory structure that may be used in drafting the national nuclear framework.
“There have been a number of international developments including amendments to treaties and conventions that have entered into force, and so I made sure that the bill that I’ve prepared for you is updated and accords with current international principles,” she added.
Cojuangco said that consulting an international law expert on nuclear energy would save time and prevent errors especially in restarting the nuclear energy program in the country.
The PNRI also introduced new amendments on the substitute bill, particularly on the Export and Import of Nuclear or Radioactive Material section.