US-Philippines nuclear energy deal enters into force

US-Philippines nuclear energy deal enters into force
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THE civil nuclear cooperation agreement, also known as "123 Agreement," between the United States and the Philippines has entered into force.

This was announced by the US State Department on Tuesday, July 9, 2024, saying the deal, titled “Agreement for Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy,” entered into force on July 2, 2024, almost eight months since its signing in November 2023.

The 123 Agreement provides a legal framework for exports of nuclear material, equipment, and components from the United States to another country.

It provides a comprehensive framework for peaceful nuclear cooperation with the Philippines based on a mutual commitment to nuclear nonproliferation.

This means that the US is now allowed to transfer nuclear material, equipment (including reactors), components, and information for nuclear research and civil nuclear energy production into the Philippines.

The US State Department said the deal will enhance the US and Philippines' cooperation on clean energy and energy security, as well as strengthen their long-term bilateral diplomatic and economic relationships.

"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 US State Department said in a statement posted on its website.

It said nuclear energy can help achieve climate change and energy security targets, and that the US looks forward to "exploring new avenues of cooperation with the Philippines in civil nuclear energy and other clean energy initiatives."

"This Agreement builds on the nearly 80 years of peaceful nuclear cooperation between our nations 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," it added.

The US State Department stressed though that creating a safe, secure, and modern sector requires a skilled workforce, robust regulations, and strong commercial partnerships. With the Philippines still lacking experts on nuclear energy, the US said that it is committed to working with Manila "to advance each of these areas and we look forward to further building our partnership together."

Negotiations for the 123 Agreement started in November 2022, as the Philippines has been exploring the use of nuclear power in a bid to provide affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy supply for Filipinos.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. witnessed the signing of the agreement in November 2023 between Philippines Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

Marcos earlier expressed gratitude to the US, noting that the pact was the fastest 123 Agreement that the US has forged with another country.

As of December 6, 2022, the US has 23 such agreements in force with 47 countries. It forged similar deals with Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, China, Canada, South Korea, and Russia, among others. (LMY)

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