The House Special Committee on Nuclear Energy has approved the proposed Philippine National Nuclear Energy Safety Act.
The panel, chaired by Pangasinan Rep. Mark Cojuangco, has recently approved an unnumbered substitute bill in consolidation to House Bill 7049, 371, 481, 526, 542, 1255, 2103, 3301, 3898, 4822, 6030, 7003 and 7330, establishing the Philippine Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority.
The bill also provides for a comprehensive legal framework for radiation protection, nuclear security and safeguards, as well as safety in the peaceful utilization of nuclear energy in the Philippines and appropriates funds therefor.
The substitute bill garnered 16 affirmative and zero negative votes from committee members present during the meeting.
The bill seeks to establish the Philippine Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority or PhilATOM with the functions and responsibilities set forth in the proposal.
It establishes a legal framework to be implemented by the Philippine Atomic Regulatory Authority, including the issuance of regulations, to govern and facilitate the peaceful, safe and secure uses of nuclear energy.
The bill also seeks to protect the people and the environment now and in the future against the harmful effects of ionizing radiation.
Under the bill, the proposed PhilATOM would be an independent authority with the sole and exclusive jurisdiction to exercise regulatory control for the peaceful, safe and secure use of nuclear energy and radiation sources in the country. All regulatory functions of the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute would be transferred to the PhilATOM.
Cojuangco saw the committee’s approval of the measure as “a cause for celebration. Now we have the bill passed by the committee and hopefully, it will be carried also on the floor on second and third reading.”
Philippine Ambassador to Vienna Peachy Natividad congratulated the committee “for this excellent work that you have done, the painstaking hours of discussions and deliberations to push forward our nuclear law that would definitely benefit our people and future generations.”
She assured the committee that the proposal has the full support of the International Atomic Energy Agency or IAEA.
She said the director general of the IAEA is looking forward to visiting the Philippines this May to boost and extend whatever support the agency can to the task being pushed by Congress.