MANILA – The historic nuclear cooperation deal between the United States and Philippines would allow the Philippines to secure US-developed nuclear technologies, including small modular reactors.
Manila and Washington D.C. signed the civil nuclear cooperation deal, commonly known as a 123 Agreement, at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in San Francisco on Nov. 16 (US time).
The agreement will facilitate and enhance cooperation on clean energy security and strengthen the two nations’ alliance, the US State Department said.
“With access to US material and equipment, the US and the Philippines will be able to work together to deploy advanced new technologies, including small modular reactors, to support climate goals as well as critical energy security and baseload power needs within the Philippines,” it said.
The signing marks the successful culmination of the negotiation process launched by Vice President Kamala Harris during her trip to the Philippines in November 2022.
The deal, the State Department said, also spells out limitations on enriching, reprocessing, and transferring specific items without the other party’s consent.
“This agreement lays out a comprehensive framework for peaceful nuclear cooperation between the Philippines and United States based on a mutual commitment to nuclear nonproliferation and is required by US law to allow for the transfer of nuclear equipment and material for peaceful uses,” it said.
The name 123 Agreement is derived from Section 123 of the US Atomic Energy Act, which requires the US to have an agreement with a country before it can conduct nuclear export.
Section 123 establishes nine nonproliferation criteria that 123 Agreements must include and signatories must uphold.
Last May, US nuclear energy firm NuScale Power Corporation has expressed interest to invest in the Philippines and bared its plan to conduct a study to locate a site in the country.
Oregon-based NuScale is known for developing a small nuclear power system, described as safe, modular and scalable.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. at the time said the country “essentially has a shortfall in power supply” and the support of NuScale would help address it. (PNA)