The Philippines is now nearing the end of negotiations on the terms and conditions of the 123 agreement with the United States for Nuclear Cooperation, Department of Energy (DOE) undersecretary Sharon Garin said.
In a report by the Manila Bulletin, Garin said that the final document will be forwarded to the Office of The President for signing on or before the end of the year.
The 123 Agreement is based on the US Atomic Act, which allows the US government to enter into “peaceful nuclear cooperation agreements” with countries that will acquire technology transfers, technical assistance, scientific research, and safeguard discussions from US nuclear companies.
Garin added that the agreement will be strengthened with other legal frameworks, including the Treaty of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) – an international agreement that promotes the safe use of nuclear technologies.
The energy official noted that representatives from the US will visit the country this month, and is hopeful that the deal can be signed before November.
Garin emphasized the importance of the agreement as Filipino companies will have access to nuclear technologies provided by US companies, including small modular reactors of NuScale, UltraSafe, and other firms.
Under the Philippine Energy Plan, the country is looking to include nuclear energy in the power mix by 2032, from 1,200 megawatts to 2,400 MW by 2040, and 4,800 MW by 2050.
Local companies, including the Manila Electric Co. (MERALCO) and Aboitiz Power Corporation, have already expressed interest in SMR installations.