Philippines-US civil nuclear agreement enters into force

Credit to Author: Pia Lee-Brago| Date: Wed, 10 Jul 2024 00:00:00 +0800

MANILA, Philippines — A landmark agreement that lays the legal framework for potential Philippine nuclear power projects with US providers has entered into force, the US State Department said yesterday.

The State Department said the Agreement for Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy took effect on July 2.

“The Agreement will enhance our cooperation on clean energy and energy security and strengthen our long-term bilateral diplomatic and economic relationships,” the State Department said.

Civil nuclear cooperation agreements, also known as 123 Agreements, provide the legal framework for export of nuclear material, equipment and components from the US to another country.

The agreement provides a comprehensive framework for peaceful nuclear cooperation with the Philippines based on mutual commitment to nuclear non-proliferation.

Upon its entry into force, the 123 Agreement will permit the transfer of nuclear material, equipment (including reactors), components and information for nuclear research and civil nuclear energy production.

This agreement, the State Department said, builds on the nearly 80 years of peaceful nuclear cooperation and establishes a framework for continued US civil nuclear trade with the Philippines.

“This Agreement is part of broader US efforts to develop the Philippines’ civil nuclear sector, creating a safe, secure and modern sector that requires a skilled workforce, robust regulations and strong commercial partnerships,” the State Department said.

“Our government is committed to working with the Philippines to advance each of these areas and we look forward to further building our partnership together,” it added.

“Energy security is an increasingly critical global challenge requiring deliberate collaborative efforts and together, our two countries can make a significant contribution to our shared clean energy goals,” the State Department also pointed out.

“And we look forward to exploring new avenues of cooperation with the Philippines in civil nuclear energy and other clean energy initiatives,” it said, adding that nuclear energy can help achieve vital global climate change and energy security targets.

In a statement, Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual said the DTI “sees the agreement as a key opportunity to attract investments in clean energy, bolstering our position as a prime investment destination.”

He also called the deal an important step in diversifying the country’s energy portfolio.

“This partnership underscores our commitment to clean and sustainable energy, vital for achieving our climate and economic goals,” he said.

For the DTI, nuclear energy will not only enhance energy security, but will support economic growth as well, according to Pascual.

“The DTI is dedicated to promoting sustainable industrialization and inclusive growth and we are optimistic about the positive impacts this collaboration will bring to our nation’s energy resilience and sustainability,” Pascual said.

The Philippines and the US signed the agreement on Nov. 16, 2023 in San Francisco, California.

Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Raphael Lotilla signed the agreement in behalf of the Philippines as chairman of the Philippine Nuclear Energy Program Inter-Agency Committee (NEPIAC) while Secretary of State Antony Blinken signed in behalf of the US. President Marcos witnessed the signing.

Negotiations for the 123 Agreement, which took about seven months, were led by Energy Undersecretary Sharon Garin for the Philippines and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Ann Ganzer for the US.

Other members of the Philippine negotiating team were representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of American Affairs, Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute, DTI-Strategic Trade Management Office and the Department of Justice, while the US negotiating team included representatives from the US-DOE National Nuclear Security Administration, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the US Embassy in Manila. — Louella Desiderio

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