US-Philippines Nuclear Deal Goes into Effect, Boosting Clean Energy Options

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A historic nuclear cooperation agreement between the United States and the Philippines has come into effect, paving the way for the export of peaceful nuclear technology to the Southeast Asian nation.

This development comes as China is increasingly using force to bully the Philippines out of its own territory in the South China Sea, in defiance of international court rulings. The Philippines signed the 123 Agreement, also known as the Agreement for Cooperation Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, in San Francisco in November 2023.

Under the agreement, technology transfers can begin on July 2, 2024, allowing the transfer of information, expertise, and equipment between the two countries. This move aims to support potential nuclear power projects with US providers, which could provide a cleaner alternative to the Philippines’ reliance on coal for energy.

The Philippines has a complicated history with nuclear power, having abandoned a nuclear plant project in the late 1970s following the Chernobyl disaster. However, with concerns about climate change and energy security growing, the country is now looking to revitalize its nuclear program.

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has announced plans to re-examine the country’s strategy towards building nuclear power plants, with a focus on smaller-scale, modular reactors that comply with International Atomic Energy Agency regulations. This approach has been met with controversy, particularly with regards to the country’s experience with the Bataan nuclear plant, which was abandoned in the 1980s.

Despite these concerns, there is a growing consensus that nuclear power is a necessary step towards achieving energy independence and reducing emissions. The US State Department has welcomed the agreement, saying it is part of broader efforts to develop the Philippines’ civil nuclear sector and create a safe, secure, and modern sector.

China’s increasingly aggressive behavior in the South China Sea has led to concerns about the country’s environmental impact, with allegations of illegal fishing and waste disposal in the region. The US State Department has reiterated its commitment to helping the Philippines develop its clean energy goals, including nuclear power, in response to China’s actions.

John Hayward
John Hayward
I'm a conservative because there is so much about the American tradition that is worth conserving.

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