Philippines, US sign nuclear cooperation deal

Michael Punongbayan, Richmond Mercurio, Alexis Romero, Bella Cariaso - The Philippine Star
Philippines, US sign nuclear cooperation deal
President Marcos is shown with Speaker Martin Romualdez and Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla during the signing of the agreement for cooperation between the Philippines and United States on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The agreement was signed at the George Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco.

SAN FRANCISCO — The Philippines and the United States have signed a landmark agreement that will allow Washington to export nuclear technology and equipment to Manila for peaceful uses, a deal seen to help the Marcos administration meet its clean energy goals and lure investments in nuclear energy projects.

The “123 agreement,” signed on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit here yesterday, will provide the Philippines access to US nuclear material and equipment. It will also set the framework for peaceful nuclear cooperation between the two countries.

The deal is named after Section 123 of the US Atomic Energy Act, which requires the completion of peaceful nuclear cooperation agreement for significant transfers of nuclear material from the US.

The negotiation for the deal was launched during Vice President Kamala Harris’ trip to the Philippines in November last year.

“So just one year later we’re signing the agreement, and that is the fastest that the United States has ever negotiated this kind of agreement,” US State Secretary Antony Blinken said. 

The US has signed more than 20 such deals with other countries. A 123 agreement has to be approved by the US Congress in order to take effect.

“When this agreement goes into effect, the United States will be able to share equipment and material with the Philippines as they work to develop small modular reactors and other civilian nuclear energy infrastructure, and we’ll do so while following the highest standards of safety and security,” Blinken said.

Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla signed the deal for the Philippines while Blinken represented the US during the signing.

“I look forward to seeing this agreement in action in the years to come.  Nuclear energy is one area where we can show that the Philippines-US alliance and partnership truly works — for our peoples, our economies, and the environment,” President Marcos, who witnessed the signing of the deal, said.

Marcos said his administration sees nuclear energy becoming a part of the Philippine energy mix by 2032.

“We would be more than happy to pursue this path with the United States as one of our partners,” the President said. 

“The signing of the Philippines-United States Agreement for Cooperation Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy or the 123 Agreement is the first major step in this regard, taking our cooperation on capacity building further and actually opening the doors for US companies to invest and participate in nuclear power projects in the country,” he added.

Lotilla said the civil nuclear cooperation would benefit not just power generation but also agriculture, health and water management

“Beyond nuclear power applications to combat climate change, the new agreement facilitates bilateral cooperation in a wide array of other peaceful uses of atomic energy — all supportive of various Sustainable Development Goals — including plant breeding, livestock production, insect pest control, soil and crop management, water use efficiency, plastic waste disposal, food safety, health and medicine,” the energy chief said.

Lotilla noted that the Philippine government started investing in nuclear energy during the administration of President Carlos Garcia from 1957 to 1961. He said the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, which was constructed during the time of the late president Ferdinand Marcos by a US firm, remains intact but was never operational more than three decades since it was built. The facility was mothballed during the presidency of Corazon Aquino, who succeeded the elder Marcos after the 1986 EDSA revolution. 

vuukle comment




  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with