DOJ clarifies landmark agreement on nuclear deal with US

Philippines to complete nuclear assessment by year-end

The Department of Justice (DOJ) clears that the landmark agreement on the “peaceful uses” of nuclear energy between the Philippines and the United States is consistent with existing legal frameworks.

In a report by Rappler, a legal opinion released by Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla stated that this bilateral agreement does not prevent the application of the national laws of the parties, particularly those of the Philippines. Instead, it allows for its enforcement.

The agreement, commonly referred to as the 123 Agreement, was finalized in November 2023 following a full year of discussions.

In a legal opinion appealed by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), in addition to other existing laws, the DOJ stated that the Atomic Energy Regulatory and Liability Act of 1968, also known as Republic Act No. 5207, could cover the implementation of the agreement.

During the signing at the APEC Summit in California, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, said the agreement allows the US to provide supplies and machinery to the Philippines for the development of small modular reactors (SMRs) and other nuclear energy infrastructure.

Furthermore, the DOJ also mentioned that the Philippines had a similar agreement with Canada, which was enforced in 1983.

DOJ said that the Canada agreement likewise addressed the responsible use of nuclear energy for civilian uses, provided that parties agree to transmit nuclear material, components, equipment, and information either directly or via authorized individuals.

The offer, on the other hand, differs from the US deal in that its provisions are subject to ratification and were negotiated under the 1973 Constitution.