Meralco eyes 3 sites for micro-modular reactor deployment

Meralco eyes 3 sites for micro-modular reactor deployment

MANILA Electric Co. (Meralco) is considering three areas for its pre-feasibility study to deploy micro-modular reactor (MMR) systems, a company official said.

In a briefing on Tuesday, Meralco Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer Ronnie L. Aperocho said that most of the sites considered by the Department of Energy (DoE) are outside the company’s franchise areas.

“Because this is a Meralco undertaking, we want [the areas to be] within our franchise. So, we’re considering at least three sites but we just have to harmonize with [Undersecretary Sharon S. Garin],” he said.

The three areas under consideration are Talim Island in Laguna de Bay, municipality of San Rafael in Bulacan, and Isla de Provisor in Manila.

Last month, Meralco signed a deal with the US-based company Ultra Safe Nuclear Corp. (USNC) to study the potential deployment of one or more MMR systems in the Philippines.

Under the agreement, USNC will conduct a four-month pre-feasibility study to familiarize Meralco with MMR systems and their effective utilization in the country.

The pre-feasibility study, according to the distribution utility, will assess financial, technical, safety, siting requirements, and commercial viability, among other topics.

Meralco will then have the option to conduct a more detailed feasibility study focusing on the adoption and deployment of MMR energy systems.

According to USNC, the MMR energy system can “safely and reliably” provide up to 45 megawatts (MW) thermal of high-quality heat, delivered into a centralized heat storage unit.

One or more MMR nuclear batteries combine their heat in the heat storage unit, from which electric power or superheated steam can be extracted through conventional means to meet a wide range of power requirements, from tens to hundreds of MW.

Meanwhile, Mr. Aperocho said that they hope to send the company’s scholars by the time USNC starts building the MMR system at the University of Illinois for them to follow through the process.

“Our plan in terms of the scholarship program is by the time that the construction has started, let us say 2025, that’s the time that will send scholars and hopefully to the University of Illinois because they have a good scholarship program,” he said.

In September, Meralco formally launched its scholarship program that will support aspiring Filipino nuclear engineers under a two-year graduate program. The program is scheduled to run from 2025 to 2027.

Meralco is eyeing top global engineering universities, including the University of California in Berkeley, the University of Illinois, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, and Université Paris–Saclay, for the program.

The application process for the pilot batch of the program will open in 2024.

Meralco’s controlling stakeholder, Beacon Electric Asset Holdings, Inc., is partly owned by PLDT Inc.

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