DoE signs two more deals with US to enable nuclear transition

THE Department of Energy (DoE) signed two memoranda of understanding with the US State Department on Tuesday enabling the Philippines to safely transition to nuclear power, with the two sides moving forward from the initial 123 Agreement, which had opened the door to US nuclear technology exports.

On the sidelines of the Indo-Pacific Business Forum, Assistant Secretary Daniel J. Kritenbrink of the State Department’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said the memoranda are vital in supporting the Philippines as it builds a safe and secure civil nuclear industry.

“Signing the 123 Agreement is just the first step; building a safe and secure civil nuclear sector also requires skilled engineers and technicians, robust regulations, and strong commercial partnerships to bring the nuclear sector to life and to maintain it safely throughout its life cycle,” Mr. Kritenbrink said.

The two sides signed the 123 Agreement last year.

The agreement that the DoE signed with the Philippine-American Educational Foundation (PAEF) aims to establish a framework of cooperation for creating scholarship opportunities and academic exchanges centered around civil nuclear and renewable energy.

“This will help the Philippines develop the skilled workforce needed to build clean energy infrastructure, including the ability to operate state-of-the-art nuclear power plants,” Mr. Kritenbrink said.

“The collaboration with the PAEF will give the country an opportunity to have advanced training for the clean energy sector in developing the human resources that are needed, including the opportunities for civil nuclear cooperation,” Energy Secretary Raphael P.M. Lotilla said.

Meanwhile, the agreement between the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the DoE aims to promote the US-Philippines Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement and develop a smart and green grid plan.

Under the agreement, USAID will commission a study on nuclear power viability that will assist the Philippine government in enhancing public acceptance of nuclear power in the country.

In November, the Philippine and US governments will organize the first Nuclear Suppliers Forum in the Philippines.

“This forum will bring together US experts, private sector leaders, and Philippine energy stakeholders to further solidify our civil nuclear cooperation,” Mr. Kritenbrink said.

In the Philippine Energy Plan for 2023–2050, the DoE is targeting a 35% share for renewable energy in the power generation mix by 2030, rising to 50% by 2040. — Justine Irish D. Tabile