Philippines, US sign '123' deal on nuclear energy cooperation

Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 17 2023 12:40 PM

US and Philippine officials sign a landmark agreement on civil nuclear cooperation at the sidelines of the APEC Summit. Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News 
US and Philippine officials sign a landmark agreement on civil nuclear cooperation at the sidelines of the APEC Summit. Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News 

MANILA — The Philippines and the United States on Thursday signed a landmark deal that would facilitate cooperation between both countries on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Commonly known as the “123 agreement”, the deal provides the legal basis for the US to export nuclear technology to the Philippines for peaceful uses. It will also allow both countries to work together and use nuclear technologies to ensure that the Philippines has a sustainable and clean energy supply.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. witnessed the signing of the agreement by Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla and US State Secretary Antony Blinken at the sidelines of the APEC Summit in San Francisco.

Blinken said that with the signing of the 123 agreement, the United States would be able to “share equipment and material with the Philippines as they work to develop small modular reactors and other civilian nuclear energy infrastructure.”

“As peak energy demands are expected to nearly quadruple in the Philippines by 2040, nuclear power can consistently produce enough energy to meet communities’ critical needs without emitting more greenhouse gases,” he said.

“In a nation of more than 7,000 islands, small modular reactors, some just the size of a city bus, can generate energy locally and conveniently. Nuclear energy will also create inclusive economic opportunities for American and Filipino businesses alike and good quality, high-paying jobs in both of our countries.”

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Marcos called the 123 agreement as another milestone towards a more energy secure and green Philippines. 

“We see nuclear energy becoming a part of the Philippine energy mix by 2032. And, we would be more 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 major 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. 

Marcos earlier called for” the reevaluation of the possibility of safely developing nuclear energy in the Philippines,” as he recognized “the enormous potential of energy energy, given the highly advanced technologies and standards of safety, security and all the different safeguards that are now in place.”

Section 123 of the US Atomic Energy Act generally requires the conclusion of a peaceful nuclear cooperation agreement for significant transfers of nuclear material or equipment from the United States. Such agreements are commonly referred to as “123 Agreements,” according to the US energy department.


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