Thursday, May 28, 2015

Visit the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in Morong, Bataan

Believe it or not, the Philippines spent US$2.3 billion from 1976 to 1984 to construct the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in Morong, Bataan. It could have produced 621 megawatts of power. This was the power plant that could have averted the power crisis in the early 1990s. It was never used.

But despite it never being used, the BNPP is intact and well-maintained by the Napocor personnel stationed there. And yes, because it was never commissioned, people can visit it.

Thanks to The Plaza Hotel Balanga and Roadtrippers, a trip to the BNPP was arranged for us. It's best to visit on weekdays during office hours. Weekend visits will require overtime pay and fees for the BNPP personnel. And note that visits are by appointment. You can't just show up at their doorstep and asked to be let in. But despite all that, a visit is definitely worth the long drive to Morong.

It was an interesting walking through the massive halls and rooms of the BNPP, with its unused but well maintained equipment. I'm sure this would make a fantastic backdrop for an industrial themed prenup or fashion shoot.

We visited the nuclear reactor. Not that this will require walking up several flights of stairs in warm and humid conditions. There are no elevators. But you get to see how well-designed the BNPP was.

The other highlight of the visit was the control room, which looks like a set from an Austin Powers movie! At the center of the room is a telephone which was a direct line to MalacaƱang. Protocol was that every time the nuclear reaction was turned on or off, a go-signal from the president had to be secured.

It took more than 30 years for the Philippine government to completely pay off its obligations in April 2007. Too bad we didn't get to use the power it could have generated.

To arrange a tour of the BNPP, contact Lee Llamas of Roadtrippers at (0917) 7828882 or via The Plaza Hotel, the best hotel in Balanga. Book your stay there (047) 2371037 / (0917) 3105083 / (0998) 5411741.
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