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Subcritical unit to be used for training and research The operation of the facility is a step forward as the Southeast Asian country prepares for a possible nuclear new-build programme. Courtesy PNRI. After more than three decades, the Philippines is again operating a nuclear facility after commissioning began of the Philippines Research Reactor-1 Subcritical Assembly for Training, Education and Research (PRR-1 Sater), which will become the country’s sole nuclear reactor training facility.

The operation of the facility is a step forward as the Southeast Asian country prepares for a possible nuclear new-build programme that is supported by president Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

The 1 MW open pool general-purpose PRR-1 research reactor reached criticality in August 1963. In 1984, PNRI decided to convert and upgrade the reactor into a 3 MW Triga Mark III reactor. It was shut down in 1988, leaving the country with no operating nuclear facility for the past 34 years.

In 2014, a proposal was accepted to use fuel rods from PRR-1 for training and education. The fuel is a uranium-zirconium hydride alloy manufactured by General Atomics of the US, which built the PRR-1. The International Atomic Energy Agency has been supporting the project through a series of technical cooperation projects.

Date: Saturday, 27 August 2022
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Southeast Asian country dealing with precarious supply and high electricity costs The mothballed Bataan nuclear power station north of Manila. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons. The Philippines has taken a step towards introducing nuclear power, its energy minister said on Wednesday, after president Rodrigo Duterte created an inter-agency committee to study the adoption of a national nuclear energy policy.

In a July 24 executive order made public on Wednesday, Mr Duterte created a committee to conduct the study, indicating openness to reviving the country’s nuclear energy ambitions.

As power demand soars in what has for years been among the world’s fastest-growing economies, energy minister Alfonso Cusi has been advocating the use of nuclear power.

Nuclear is seen as a potential answer to the Philippines’ twin problems of precarious supply and Southeast Asia’s highest electricity costs.

Date: Thursday, 30 July 2020
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