PH, US sign landmark ‘123 agreement’ on nuclear energy
SAN FRANCISCO, United States — The Philippines on Friday (Philippine time) signed the breakthrough “123 agreement” on nuclear energy cooperation with the United States.
The 123 agreement or the “peaceful nuclear cooperation agreement” provides the legal basis for allowing American companies to export nuclear fuel, reactors, equipment, and other specialized nuclear materials to the Philippines.
The US has 23 civil nuclear agreements with other countries, including Russia, China, Canada, South Korea, the United Kingdom, Japan, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. witnessed the signing of the pact on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit here.
In his speech, he said the agreement would ensure a “more energy secure and green Philippines,” adding that he was optimistic that nuclear energy would become 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,” he told Blinken and other US officials, saying he was looking forward “to seeing this agreement in action in the years to come.”
According to Marcos, nuclear energy is one area where where the Philippines and US could show that the alliance and partnership “truly works – for our peoples, our economies, and the environment.”
He recalled that during his first State of the Nation Address in July 2022, he laid out plans to ensure affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy supply for the Philippines amid its growing energy demands while providing an energy business environment that is more friendly to investors and consumers.
“I called then for the re-evaluation of the possibility of safely developing nuclear energy in the Philippines, recognizing the enormous potential of nuclear energy given the new, highly advanced technologies and standards of safety, security, and all the different safeguards that are now in place,” he said.
The President earlier said that many businessmen were discouraged to invest in the Philippines due to concerns on power supply and cost.
US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson backed Marcos’ statement in October, saying a number of American nuclear technology firms are “very interested in investing” in the Philippines but hesitant due to the absence of the 123 agreement.