The Governments of the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America signed the Agreement for Cooperation Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy or the 123 Agreement on 16 November 2023 (US Pacific time) in San Francisco, California.
Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Raphael P.M. Lotilla signed the Agreement on behalf of the Philippines as Chair of the Philippine Nuclear Energy Program Inter-Agency Committee (NEPIAC) while Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken signed on behalf of the US.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
The 123 Agreement lays the legal framework for potential nuclear power projects with US providers. It aims to facilitate Philippine-US cooperation in the safe and secure use of nuclear energy taking into full account the standards and safeguards set by the International Atomic Energy Agency, as well as in accordance with respective national laws, international agreements, and regulations.
Upon entry into force, the 123 Agreement will allow the transfer of information, nuclear material, equipment, and components directly between the Philippines and the US or through persons authorized by their respective authorities to engage in transfer activities, which will support potential nuclear power projects with US providers. The Agreement will likewise pave the way for streamlining the licensing requirements for the private sector with respect to investments on 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. From the time the Philippines under President Ramon Magsaysay joined in 1955 the Atoms for Peace Program initiated by US President Dwight Eisenhower until today’s leadership of President Marcos, Jr., manifests the intention of the two countries to enhance the level of cooperation and strengthen partnership across the spectrum of nuclear energy applications both for power and non-power uses.” Energy Secretary Lotilla said.
“Beyond nuclear power applications to combat climate change, the new Agreement facilitates cooperation in a wide array of other peaceful uses of atomic energy — all supportive of various Sustainable Development Goals — including plant breeding, livestock production, insect pest control, soil and crop management, water use efficiency, plastic waste disposal, food safety, health and medicine.” Secretary Lotilla further said.
The negotiations for the 123 Agreement, which took about seven months, were led by DOE Undersecretary Sharon S. Garin for the Philippine side and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Ann Ganzer for the US side. Other members of the Philippine Negotiating Team include the Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of American Affairs, Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute, Department of Trade and Industry-Strategic Trade Management Office, and the Department of Justice, while the US Negotiating Team includes representatives from the US-DOE National Nuclear Security Administration, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the US Embassy in Manila. ###