US, PH agreement for nuclear equipment exports underway

Published November 21, 2022, 8:52 AM

by Joseph Pedrajas

The United States and the Philippines will launch an agreement that will eventually serve as a legal basis for US’ exports of nuclear equipment and material to the country.

This is just one of the initiatives that US Vice President Kamala Harris is expected to launch during her trip to the country, where she is set to bolster the US-Philippines ties on climate action and energy security, among other areas of cooperation.

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In a fact sheet provided by the White House on Sunday night (Manila time), the pact will be called “123 Agreement Negotiations for Civil Nuclear Energy Cooperation” or “123 agreement,” which will support the expanded cooperation on zero-emission energy and non-proliferation activities of the two countries.

It is part of the US’ commitment to work with the Philippines to increase energy security and deploy “advanced nuclear reactor technology as quickly as safety and security conditions permit to meet the Philippines’ dire baseload power needs.”

“Such a deployment would support both energy security and climate goals, as well support workers and businesses in both countries,” the fact sheet read.

In an online briefing, a senior White House official noted that “this is a priority” of President Marcos, who has repeatedly called for the use of sustainable energy, which includes nuclear energy.

Harris, during her trip, will also lead the launching of the Energy Policy Dialogue that will establish a high-level platform for the two countries to develop new forms of energy cooperation, including on short and long-term energy planning, offshore wind development, and grid stability and power transmission, the White House said.

Another deliverable is the development of a geothermal project in Mindanao. The United States will partner with Philippine energy company Energy Development Corporation (EDC) to develop this to expand access to clean energy, reduce emissions, and diversify the country’s energy mix.

These efforts are aimed at bringing down energy costs for consumers, it added.

Harris will also launch the building of the project pipeline by opening an office in the US Embassy Manila to help US companies and financiers invest in the Philippine market, supporting the energy and infrastructure needs of the Philippines and the broader Indo-Pacific region.

Two more initiatives, namely the developments of the Indo-Pacific Smart and Secure Ports and the Critical Mineral Supply Chains of the Philippines, will start as well.

Through the Indo-Pacific Smart and Secure Ports, the United States will help the Philippines build partner capacity to identify and mitigate cybersecurity risks in critical seaport infrastructure.

Lastly, the setting up of a nickel and cobalt processing facility in the Philippines would initiate the launching of the Critical Mineral Supply Chains to expand the production of refined nickel and cobalt in the Philippines by 20,000 metric tons per year.

“The project will advance the sustainable development of critical minerals essential to the technologies for the clean energy transition,” the White House paper read.

 
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