Department of Energy (DOE) and USAID sign agreement on nuclear energy

The Department of Energy (DOE) has entered into a partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to strengthen cooperation in nuclear energy between the Philippines and the US.

DOE Secretary Raphael Lotilla and USAID Philippines mission director Ryan Washburn signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) aimed at developing a comprehensive civil nuclear energy policy in the Philippines. The MOU was signed on the sidelines of the Indo-Pacific Business Forum (IPBF).

This agreement is expected to enhance the energy cooperation between the Philippines and the US, building on the civil nuclear cooperation agreement, known as the 123 agreement, signed by the two countries in November 2023. The 123 agreement allows the US to transfer nuclear equipment and components to the Philippines for peaceful use.

US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and the Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink emphasized that the 123 agreement represents just the beginning of a deeper collaboration. Under the MOU, USAID will commission a study on the viability of nuclear power to assist the Philippine government in engaging stakeholders and improving public acceptance of nuclear energy in the country.

The study will focus on various aspects of nuclear power in the Philippines, including technical, socio-economic, financial, and regulatory considerations. It will also explore scenarios for incorporating nuclear energy into the country’s overall energy mix and provide recommendations on private sector involvement.

DOE Secretary Lotilla expressed the government’s interest in exploring opportunities in nuclear power, as it is included in the country’s energy mix under the Philippine Energy Plan for 2023 to 2050. Additionally, the DOE signed another MOU with the Philippine American Educational Foundation to facilitate scholarships and academic exchanges related to civil nuclear and renewable energy.

US Assistant Secretary Kritenbrink highlighted other initiatives, such as establishing a US Civil Nuclear Industry Working Group for Southeast Asia, based in Manila. This working group will connect Philippine partners with US companies to accelerate the country’s transition to clean and safe nuclear energy.

The collaborations between the DOE, USAID, and other partners aim to support the Philippines in developing a skilled workforce for building clean energy infrastructure and operating advanced nuclear power plants.

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