January 15, 2023

Manila, Philippines

Diocesan Pastoral Letter about Bataan Nuclear Power Plant: “The Diocese of Balanga has spoken against and stands firm again”

No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.
Luke 6:43

My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ. A peaceful and blessed greeting!

It is said that due to the lack of electricity or the increase in oil price, there are those who are, once again, advancing the rehabilitation of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. The Diocese of Balanga has already spoken. This is not right nor is it good.

I, the current Bishop of Balanga, support the views and respect the plans of our clergy, our current local government officials, and the lay faithful of the Diocese of Balanga in Bataan. United with them, I speak and stand against the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant and oppose the idea or planned continuation of the BNPP.

There are serious factors associated with nuclear energy, such as risks and cost. While nuclear power is cheap to operate and produces inexpensive fuel, the cost to build and maintain the facility are exorbitant. It will cost billions of dollars. According to the findings of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom) about the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant on April 04, 2018, His Excellency, the Russian Ambassador Igor Khovaev, declares that its revival is “not possible at all.” He authoritatively concluded that the plant is “absolutely outdated.”

What most people do not realize is, they think they will save a lot of money from their electric bill. However, the cost of construction and maintenance will be an added burden to our already deep national debt, which will be paid for by our very own citizens for generations to come.

Some advanced countries such as Japan, Germany, and France have already shut down their nuclear plants. Why are we now propagating and considering nuclear energy for our country? The potential of a nuclear meltdown, like in Chernobyl and Fukushima, will be detrimental to the environment and the residents. Moreover, the amount of nuclear waste it will produce every year will be tremendous and so does the cost to dispose of it.

We do not want to revive the BNPP. We don’t want to put life on the brink of danger, in the shadow of impending death, and in a future with no certainty of goodness, safety, and beauty.

We don’t want our sea to be uninhabitable to marine life, resulting in the disruption of our ecosystem. We don’t want our soil to be poisoned and no longer viable to be cultivated. We don’t want our livelihoods to be destroyed.

The Diocese of Balanga objects and it cannot be changed. Life is more important to us than profit or money from low-cost electricity or just to satisfy someone’s personal selfish motives. We take great care of the Lord God’s creations and we have truly responded to His call to preserve and not destroy, to enrich and not abuse, everything He has made. There are clean, renewable energy sources, in particular the Wind, Water (hydro), and Solar, that can be explored, tried, and implemented. These are the types of sources that can make energy safer and more reliable.

The Diocese of Balanga has spoken and will stand firm again. We acted then and will continue to act today. We are against it. Stop it. Enough. We do not agree. We are against any ideas or plans for the rehabilitation of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.

Let us now pray:

Heavenly Father, Your creation speaks of Your majestic powers.
We praise You and stand in awe to see that our nature is a reflection of Your sovereignty Truly, all things are arranged for Your glory and for the good of Your people.
We pray that You help us, then,
to be good stewards of our environment.
Enable us to be accountable in using and protecting the natural resources that You gifted us.
     Stir up the hearts of those who want to misuse the natural resources You created.
     Make everyone realize that faithful stewardship is a responsibility shared by all.
     As we reflect on the preservation of Your creation, equip us to stand firm in protecting
     its beauty and purpose.
We ask this in the mighty name of Your most precious son, Jesus, Amen.

+Ruperto Cruz Santos, DD
Bishop of Balanga and CBCP Episcopal Chairman of Pontificio Collegio Filippino in Rome

Friday, 06 January 2023
The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord


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