DOE, USAID ink nuclear energy pact

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star
DOE, USAID ink nuclear energy pact
Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla (front, 2nd from left) and USAID Philippines Mission Director Ryan Washburn (front, 2nd from right) show the signed memorandum of understanding to advance the civil nuclear cooperation between the Philippines and the US at the Shangri-la The Fort in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig on May 21, 2024.
PNA photo by Kris M. Crismundo

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Energy (DOE) has partnered with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to enhance the cooperation in nuclear energy between the Philippines and the US.

DOE Secretary Raphael Lotilla and USAID Philippines mission director Ryan Washburn signed the memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the development of a comprehensive civil nuclear energy policy in the Philippines on the sidelines of the Indo-Pacific Business Forum (IPBF).

The MOU is expected to deepen the ties between the Philippines and US in terms of energy cooperation as the two countries already signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement or the 123 agreement in November 2023.

The 123 agreement allows the US to transfer nuclear equipment and components to the Philippines for peaceful use.

US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and the Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink said the 123 agreement is just the first step.

Under the MOU, the USAID will commission a study on nuclear power viability to assist the Philippine government in engaging stakeholders for improved public acceptance of nuclear power in the country.

The study aims to provide an overview of the technical, socio-economic, financial and regulatory aspects of nuclear power in the Philippines, as well as explore scenarios of incorporating nuclear energy in the country’s overall energy mix.

It will also provide recommendations on how the private sector can be involved in the process.

Lotilla said the government is looking forward to exploring opportunities, as nuclear power was included in the country’s energy mix under the Philippine Energy Plan for 2023 to 2050.

“And so we welcome the initiative on the part of the US government to have this working group of US firms that are interested in offering services in the civil nuclear space,” Lotilla said.

The DOE also inked another MOU with the Philippine American Educational Foundation for scholarships and academic exchanges on civil nuclear and renewable energy.

“This will help the Philippines develop the skilled workforce needed to build clean energy infrastructure, including the ability to operate state-of-the-art nuclear power plants,” Kritenbrink said.

According to Kritenbrink, other initiatives include establishing a US Civil Nuclear Industry Working Group for Southeast Asia to be headquartered in Manila.

“This industry-led group will connect Philippine partners with US companies, providing world-class technology solutions and best practices to accelerate the Philippines’ transition to clean and safe nuclear energy,” Kritenbrink said.

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