An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) team of experts concluded an eight-day mission to the Philippines on 17 December.

The team reviewed the status of nuclear infrastructure development using  criteria from Phase 1 of the IAEA's Milestones Approach, which provides detailed guidance across three phases of development. The end of Phase 1 marks the readiness of a country to make a knowledgeable commitment to a nuclear power programme.

The INIR review team was hosted by the Philippines’ Nuclear Energy Programme Implementing Organisation (NEPIO), established by the Department of Energy in 2016.  

Milko Kovachev, Head of the IAEA’s Nuclear Infrastructure Development Section, said:  “It is evident that the Philippines is following a systematic approach to finalise its nuclear power strategy and complete the associated infrastructure development.”

The team, which included experts from Algeria, Morocco, Spain, the UK and IAEA staff, identified some good practices that would benefit other countries considering the introduction of nuclear power.

It noted that the NEPIO has completed several studies and that draft legislation addressing nuclear safety, security, and safeguards, and that set up of an independent nuclear regulatory body is being considered in the Congress. The team also acknowledge that the Philippines "recognises the importance of open and transparent public communication," as well as the need to include a broader range of stakeholders as it prepares to introduce nuclear power.

It made the following recommendations that could  assist Philippines in making further progress:

  • Involving a broader range of stakeholders in completing the work required to enable a national commitment to introduce nuclear power;
  • Developing a legal and regulatory framework that ensures and demonstrates a commitment to safety, security and non-proliferation;
  • Further enhancing approaches to human resource and leadership development, nuclear fuel cycle options and electrical grid impacts;
  • Adapting the existing national frameworks for emergency preparedness and response and nuclear security in light of a future nuclear power project.

Photo: The opening session of the INIR mission to the Philippines (Credit: IAEA)