US, Japan to open nuclear energy study tours for PH experts

US, Japan to open nuclear energy study tours for PH experts

/ 04:37 PM April 12, 2024

US, Japan to open nuclear energy study tours for PH experts

WASHINGTON, D.C., United States — Nuclear energy study tours for Filipino experts will be opened by the United States and Japan in hopes of pushing for an expanded collaboration on clean energy, the leaders of the three countries announced on Thursday.

In a joint statement after the trilateral summit, Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr., US President Joe Biden, and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio expressed support for the Philippines’ need for capacity building on safe nuclear energy use.


“Recognizing the Philippines’ request for further training and capacity building for scientists, engineers, and relevant personnel and policy-makers, our three nations seek to expand our partnership on safe and secure civil-nuclear capacity building,” the leaders said.


“Under the Foundational Infrastructure for Responsible Use of Small Modular Reactor Technology (FIRST) program, the United States and Japan plan to co-host a nuclear energy study tour in Japan for nuclear experts and policy decision-makers from the Philippines and other FIRST partner countries,” they added.

A dialogue would also be started in late 2024 to develop a workforce capable of managing nuclear energy for the power industry.

“We also plan to deepen trilateral cooperation on civilian nuclear workforce development through a trilateral dialogue this year, to advance the Philippines’ civil nuclear energy program,” the leaders noted.

Since Marcos Jr. assumed office, the Philippines has been engaged in talks about using nuclear energy to lower power costs and diversify its energy mix—especially since the Department of Energy said that coal-fired power plants remain the country’s leading source of energy.

If the push for nuclear energy is successful, the Philippines will likely use small modular reactors, considering Marcos’s previous meetings with NuScale, one of the US companies providing this technology.

In May 2023, NuScale’s local partner Prime Infrastructure Capital, Inc. said that the “future investment value of the project would be in the range” of $6.5 billion to $7.5 billion.


Last November 2023, the Philippines and the US signed the landmark ‘123 agreement — a deal that the US strikes with allies for nuclear energy cooperation.

The term ‘123’ was derived from Section 123 of the US Atomic Energy Act, which says partners in nuclear energy cooperation are legally obligated to observe standards and to defer using the deal for nuclear weapons creation.

Negotiations for the agreement started when US Vice President Kamala Harris visited the Philippines in November 2022.

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All three countries also reiterated support for deeper cooperation in the transition to clean energy — which entails creating supply chain jobs and ensuring fair competition among clean energy providers.

“Japan, the Philippines, and the United States are working together to expand cooperation for the transition to clean energy and create high-standard, clean energy supply chain jobs across our three nations through the mutually beneficial development of resources in clear, transparent, and fair market competition with strong protections for labor rights and the environment,” the leaders said.

TAGS: nuclear energy, Philippines

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