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Creation of local nuke regulatory body hurdles second House reading.

The House of Representatives has recently approved on second reading a measure providing for a comprehensive nuclear regulatory framework that will pave the way for the creation of the Philippine Nuclear Regulatory Commission (PNRC).

Authored by Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, House Bill (HB) 8733, or the proposed 'Comprehensive Nuclear Regulation Act,' was already approved on second reading on December 12. It is expected to be approved on third and final reading when session resumes in January.

In filing the bill, Arroyo said the creation of a single nuclear regulatory body will harmonize the Philippines's regulatory infrastructures with countries in the Asian region and other developed countries.

She said in the process of establishing the Asean Community by 2015 and subsequent closer integration within Asean, the physical and institutional connectivity between member-states will present both new opportunities and challenges on nuclear-related issues.

The measure aims to provide a legal framework that shall adequately protect the public health and safety, as well as the environment against the adverse effects of ionizing radiation. It shall also work for the safety and security of radiation resources.

The bill seeks to create and maintain a regulatory system for the formulation, and adoption of regulations and guidelines on the use of ionizing radiation that shall specify the principles, requirements, and associated criteria for safety and security upon which the regulatory, judgments, decisions and actions shall be based on.

HB 8733 shall establish the PNRC, a single and independent nuclear regulatory body that shall exercise authority over all aspects of safety, security, and safeguards involving nuclear materials and other radioactive materials, facilities and radiation generating equipment.

The PNRC shall be headed by a commissioner, who shall be appointed by the President, and shall be assisted by four deputy commissioners.

To ensure proper management and effective implementation of the PNRC's functions, an executive director shall be recommended by the commissioner, who shall assist in the discharge of executive and administrative functions, coordinate and direct the activities of the staff, as well as recommend and develop plans to achieve the commission's objectives.

The bill mandates the PNRC to charge and collect reasonable fees in the performance of its regulatory functions. These shall be deposited with the Bureau of Treasury as income of the general fund.

Meanwhile, a Nuclear Waste Management Fund shall be established by setting aside a portion of the payment of the electricity generated from the nuclear energy use. The fund shall only be utilized for the safe disposal of nuclear waste, which shall include site research, transport and final geological disposal.

An advisory board shall be formed to be composed of the secretary of the Department of Science and Technology as chairman, the secretary of the Department of Health as vice chairman and the secretaries of the Departments of Energy, Environment, Defense, Trade and Agriculture as members, as well as a maximum of five members from academe or nongovernment organizations.

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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Dec 26, 2018
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