Another US nuclear plant builder keen on PH | Global News

Another US nuclear plant builder keen on PH

By: - Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 05:34 AM May 04, 2023

POWER DEAL President Marcos and his delegation meet with the top executives of NuScale Power Corp. in Washington on the sidelines of his working visit to the United States on Monday. They discussed potential cooperation on energy. —MALACAÑANG PHOTO

POWER DEAL President Marcos and his delegation meet with the top executives of NuScale Power Corp. in Washington on the sidelines of his working visit to the United States on Monday. They discussed potential cooperation on energy. —MALACAÑANG PHOTO

WASHINGTON—President Marcos’ initiative to tap nuclear energy as the Philippines’ new major source of electricity has received the backing of another American company, which proposed the use of micro modular reactors (MMR) to put an end to supply shortages and outages such as the hours-long brownouts now happening in Occidental Mindoro.

The first half of the President’s five-day working visit in the United States proved fruitful as the Philippines secured a slew of investment proposals, including a $3-billion financing package through the US Trade and Development Agency to build ports, railways and other public transport systems.


A day after meeting with Oregon-based NuScale Power Corp., Mr. Marcos on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) spoke with top executives of Ultra Safe Nuclear Corp. (USNC), a Seattle-based company involved in the vertical integration of nuclear technologies and services.


According to the Presidential Communications Office (PCO), USNC was looking at the Philippines as the first site of its nuclear energy facility in Southeast Asia.

It said the company’s proposed project would help provide the needed electricity in provinces such as Occidental Mindoro that are experiencing long brownouts.

The PCO said Mr. Marcos was interested in using “cutting-edge” micro nuclear fuel technology as an additional source in the country’s energy mix.

“Ensuring an unhampered supply of energy, alongside the promotion and utilization of renewable energy sources, are top priorities of the Marcos administration in an aggressive bid to realize a sufficient and clean energy supply in the future,” the PCO said in a statement.

Francesco Venneri, chief executive officer of USNC, told the President that they were interested in providing “clean and reliable nuclear energy” with the use of MMRs, a nuclear plant system based on its patented “fully ceramic micro-encapsulated fuel technology.”

“We also note that there’s a great deal of discussion about (Occidental) Mindoro having blackouts and that might be an excellent…, a good (scientific solution),” Venneri said.


Clean energy

Before meeting US President Joe Biden at the White House on Monday, Mr. Marcos discussed with senior officials of NuScale Power the possible construction of a $7.5-billion small modular reactor (SMR) in the Philippines.

In his meeting with US Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday, the American official commended the President for sharing her interest in pushing for clean energy.

“During my visit to the Philippines, we discussed many issues, including the importance of clean energy to the economy. You and I share a passion for that,” Harris told the President.

The Marcos administration’s push for clean energy was boosted further with the plan of Maxeon Solar Technologies to scale up its operations in the Philippines by infusing a fresh capital of $900 million.

Officials of Maxeon, which owns solar panel manufacturer SunPower Philippines Manufacturing Ltd., were among the American traders who attended the series of business meetings at the Blair House during the visiting state leader’s second day at the US capital.

Maxeon CEO Bill Mulligan said the expansion of their operations would generate more than 3,000 job opportunities for Filipinos over the next few years.

“The Philippines… is actually a strategic part of our company. And I want to thank you and I want to thank all of the government agencies for all of the help and the support for the 40 plus years that we’ve been in the country,” Mulligan told the President.

Investment pledges

Carnival Corp., a British-American cruise operator, informed the President of its plan to employ up to 75,000 Filipino seafarers over the next few years for several cruise ships.

Company CEO John Padget said Filipino seafarers were known for their skills and hospitality in the cruise line industry.

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s the marine, deck, hospitality, restaurant… Everything is based on the happiness, the smile and the greatness of the Filipino employees,” Padget said.

Mr. Marcos also thanked Cambridge-based Moderna Inc. for its decision to establish a “shared service facility for pharmacovigilance” in the Philippines that would provide the needs of its clients in the Asia-Pacific region.

“With your experience in other countries, there are many lessons that we could learn that can be applied in the Philippines,” Marcos told Moderna executives led by its chief commercial officer Arpa Garay.

Two other American companies, Atento and Optum Inc., also pledged to bring in investments in the business process outsourcing industry in the Philippines.

Optum, an American healthcare provider, said at least 1,500 Filipinos would be hired for its planned P800-million business expansion in the country.

On the other hand, Atento would be setting up its first call center in the Philippines inside the Iloilo Business Park in Mandurriao town, Iloilo province.

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“I know it will be successful because… it has been a go-to industry for the Philippine government for quite a long time now,” Marcos said.


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