Wake Up, Philippines!

US scientist scolds pro-nuke lawmaker

Posted in BNPP, Energy, Social Issues/Concerns by Erineus on February 16, 2009

MANILA, Philippines—A US scientist admonished Pangasinan Representative Mark Cojuangco for “dangerously misrepresenting” a scientific study in a bid to make the lawmaker’s proposal to reopen the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) “look good.”

Dr. Kelvin Rodolfo, professor emeritus of the University of Illinois Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, said he was dismayed Cojuangco misused the 2005 study the American and two fellow scientists made.

“I am dismayed that our paper was cited by Cojuangco in his exploratory note. He is being ignorant of scientific data,” said Rodolfo.

Cojuangco authored a House bill seeking to revive the $2.3-billion BNPP mothballed over two decades ago.

A visibly angry Rodolfo, during a Friday conference on nuclear power at the University of the Philippines National Institute of Geological Sciences (UP-NIGS), accused Cojuangco of “dangerously misrepresenting” the scientific study, which covered the geology of Subic Bay.

Rodolfo, also an adjunct professor at UP-NIGS and a staunch critic of nuclear energy, argued that the paper did not certify the safety of the area where the BNPP is located.

A heated exchange ensued during the open forum when Cojuangco tried to rebut Rodolfo’s accusations, saying that the rest of his proposed measure was based on solid scientific data.

Cojuangco also said that the bill was meant to ensure long-term availability of power in the country and reduce the effects of global warming.

But Rodolfo rebuked Cojuangco saying that the lawmaker should have understood the purpose of their paper, which studied geologic faults in Subic Bay and not Natib where the BNPP stands.

Rodolfo said his team even found by accident some geologic faults previously undetected. These could in fact cause some danger to surrounding areas of Subic, which includes Natib, some 10 kilometers away, he said.

“What you’re doing is cherry-picking arguments that would make your proposal look good,” Rodolfo said.

Trying to calm down, Cojuangco finally apologized to Rodolfo and said he would amend his bill. “I’m going to try to put amendments in my explanatory note that you are anti-nuclear.”

Rodolfo also posted online a statement about the alleged misuse of the study.