Philippines and U.S. Forge Historic '123 Agreement,' Marking Milestone in Nuclear Energy Cooperation

Philippines and U.S. Forge Historic '123 Agreement,' Marking Milestone in Nuclear Energy Cooperation

On Friday (Nov. 17), the United States and the Philippines signed a landmark agreement that will allow the export of nuclear technology and materials from Washington to Manila. The move is in line with the Philippines' efforts to use nuclear power to reduce carbon emissions and increase energy independence. 

The landmark signing, known as the "123 Agreement," provides the legal basis for nuclear cooperation between the two countries. President of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. witnessed the signing of the agreement on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit.

In his speech, President Marcos stated that this agreement would ensure a "more energy-secure and green Philippines". He is optimistic that nuclear energy will become an integral part of the country's energy portfolio by 2032.

Macros also said that nuclear energy is an area where the Philippines and the United States can demonstrate the true success of this alliance and partnership, bringing tangible benefits to the people, the economy, and the environment. He also mentioned his plan, outlined in his July 2022 State of the Nation Address, to ensure an affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy supply for the Philippines to meet growing energy demand while creating a more favorable energy business environment for investors and consumers.

The Philippines is interested in utilizing nuclear power as a reliable alternative baseload power source as part of the country's efforts to reduce reliance on coal-fired power generation, support climate change goals, and enhance energy security. The Philippines is seeking a more sustainable solution given its vulnerability to global oil price fluctuations, seasonal power outages, and high electricity tariffs in Southeast Asia.

Although previous attempts at nuclear power development in the Philippines faced safety concerns, President Marcos discussed the potential revival of a defunct nuclear power plant, the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. The plant was completed in 1984, but was shut down two years later after a regime change that included the ouster of the elder Marcos, the world-shaking Chernobyl incident, and allegations of corruption.

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