In a historic development, The Philippines and the United States of America formalized their commitment to nuclear cooperation by signing the Agreement for Cooperation Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, commonly known as the 123 Agreement, on November 16, 2023 (US Pacific time) in San Francisco, California.
Energy Secretary Raphael P.M. Lotilla, who is also Chair of the Philippine Nuclear Energy Program Inter-Agency Committee (NEPIAC) represented the Philippines, while the United States was represented by Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken.
The signing ceremony, attended by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
The 123 Agreement establishes a legal framework to facilitate potential nuclear power projects involving US providers. Its primary objective is to promote secure and safe cooperation in the use of nuclear energy, adhering to the standards and safeguards set by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as well as complying with national laws, international agreements, and regulations.
Once in effect, the agreement will enable the direct transfer of information, nuclear material, equipment, and components between the Philippines and the US.
The agreement will also support potential nuclear power projects with US providers and streamline licensing requirements for the private sector concerning investments in nuclear-related intangible transfers of technology (ITT).
“The signing of the Agreement today is reflective of an enduring cooperative effort between the Philippines and the US on harnessing civilian nuclear power for sustainable development,” Lotilla said in a statement.
Secretary Lotilla highlighted the broader scope of cooperation beyond nuclear power applications, encompassing various peaceful uses of atomic energy that align with Sustainable Development Goals. These include plant breeding, livestock production, insect pest control, soil and crop management, water use efficiency, plastic waste disposal, food safety, health, and medicine.
The negotiations for the 123 Agreement, lasting approximately seven months, were spearheaded by DOE Undersecretary Sharon S. Garin for the Philippines and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Ann Ganzer for the United States.
Photo courtesy of RTVM