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Monday, February 26, 2024

Should we adopt nuke technology?

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It’s been described as the fastest agreement on nuclear energy as it was signed after the conclusion of negotiations between the Philippines and the United States only a month before.

We’re referring to “Agreement for Cooperation Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy,” or the so-called 123 Agreement, signed last November at the sidelines of the 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders Meeting in San Francisco, California.

For President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the 123 Agreement is the first “major step” in stepping up cooperation on capacity building between Manila and Washington and actually opening the doors for US companies to invest and participate in nuclear power projects here.

“We see nuclear energy becoming a part of the Philippine energy mix by 2032, and we would be more than happy to pursue this path with the United States as one of our partners,” President Marcos said in his remarks during the signing ceremony.

His administration, he added, would be very glad to pursue nuclear energy as part of the country’s energy mix by 2032 through the partnership forged with American firms.

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Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla signed the 123 Agreement with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Lotilla said the agreement allows the peaceful transfer of nuclear material, equipment, and knowledge from the US to the Philippines.

Beyond nuclear power applications to combat climate change, the 123 Agreement facilitates bilateral cooperation in a wide array of other peaceful uses of atomic energy, including plant breeding, livestock production, insect pest control, soil and crop management, water use efficiency, plastic waste disposal, food safety, health and medicine.

Earlier, Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) signed a cooperation agreement with the Ultra Safe Nuclear Cooperation of the US to undertake a Pre-Feasibility Study on Micro-Modular Reactors to explore clean and sustainable energy options here.

The two agreements represent two steps forward in the Marcos administration’s efforts to ensure affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy supply in the years ahead.

The Marcos administration has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent by 2030 and increase the production of clean energy.

The goal is to ensure that 50 percent of the country’s energy requirements comes from renewable sources by 2040.

Maybe those stoutly opposed to the country’s adoption of nuclear energy as part of our energy mix, citing our sad experience with the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, ought to reconsider their stand as technological advances have made it possible for modular nuclear reactors to provide safe and affordable energy supply.

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