US, Philippines sign ‘civil nuclear cooperation’ deal

By Anadolu Agency

The US and the Philippines signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement, which will allow Washington to export nuclear technology and materials to Manila.

The agreement, signed on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in San Francisco, will allow the two countries to facilitate and enhance their cooperation on clean energy security.

“This agreement lays out a comprehensive framework for peaceful nuclear cooperation between the Philippines and United States based on a mutual commitment to nuclear nonproliferation and is required by U.S. law to allow for the transfer of nuclear equipment and material for peaceful uses,” the US State Department said in a statement on Thursday.

The signing ceremony was attended by Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Philippines Department of Energy Secretary Raphael P. M. Lotilla.

“With access to U.S. material and equipment, the U.S. and the Philippines will be able to work together to deploy advanced new technologies, including small modular reactors, to support climate goals as well as critical energy security and baseload power needs within the Philippines,” the statement said.

Under the agreement, both governments would be required to uphold specific standards for covered items used in civil nuclear energy programs, such as International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards, physical protection of covered items, and restrictions on enriching, reprocessing, and transferring specific items without the consent of the other party.

The agreement would also be presented to the US Congress for approval.

“When this agreement goes into effect, the United States will be able to share equipment and material with the Philippines as they work to develop small modular reactors and other civilian nuclear energy infrastructure,” Blinken said during the signing ceremony.

President Marcos Jr., for his part, welcomed the development, saying it is the first step toward allowing US companies to invest in and participate in nuclear power projects in his country.

“I look forward to seeing this agreement in action in the years to come. Nuclear energy is one area where we can show that the Philippines-U.S. alliance and partnership truly works for our peoples, our economies, and the environment,” Marcos Jr. was quoted as saying in the official statement.