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Philippine nuclear plant to become tourist site

11 may 2011, 19:09
The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. REUTERS/Erik de Castro©
The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. REUTERS/Erik de Castro©
Tourists will soon be able to wander through a nuclear power plant in the Philippines that was built nearly three decades ago but never used, a government official said Wednesday, AFP reports.

The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, which has lain dormant since it was completed in 1984 at a cost of $2.3 billion, will be opened to tour groups to teach them about nuclear power, said regional tourism director Ronald Tiotuico.

Tiotuico said the move was timely amid increased public interest in the issue following the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, caused by a huge earthquake and tsunami on March 11.

"It's a learning experience. You can see all the machinery, all the equipment and learn what happened in Fukushima and how it will not happen in Bataan," he told AFP.

He stressed that the plant was safe as the uranium fuel had been removed long ago.

The 620-megawatt plant, located in Bataan province about two hours' drive from Manila, was built under then-president Ferdinand Marcos to help deal with energy problems following the oil price crises of the 1970s.

But after Marcos was overthrown in a popular revolt in 1986, his successor Corazon Aquino refused to put it into operation, citing safety concerns such as the plant's location near an earthquake fault and active volcano.

It has since become a huge white elephant, costing the government millions of dollars in maintenance.

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