US picks Manila as HQ for civil nuclear working group for SEA

MANILA: The United States has chosen Manila as its Southeast Asian headquarters for the US Civil Nuclear Industry Working Group, State Department Assistant Secretary for Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink announced here Tuesday.

On the sidelines of the 6th Indo-Pacific Business Forum (IPBF) here, Kritenbrink said establishing the Civil Nuclear Industry Working Group in the Philippines will deepen the commercial engagement of stakeholders between the US and Southeast Asia.

‘This industry-led group will connect Philippine partners with US companies, provide world-class technology solutions and best practices to accelerate Philippines’ transition to clean and safe nuclear energy,’ the US official said.

Kritenbrink added this initiative underscores the deep commitment of the US government to support the Philippines’ long-term energy needs and environmental laws while maintaining secured and safe use of civil nuclear energy.

The Philippines and the US also signed two new memoranda of u
nderstanding (MOUs) to advance the governments’ civil nuclear partnership built on the 123 Agreement.

The Philippines and the US signed the 123 Agreement in November 2023 allowing the Philippines to import and use nuclear technologies originating from the US for “peaceful use.”

Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Raphael Lotilla signed the MOU with US Agency for International Development (USAID) Philippines Mission Director Ryan Washburn to develop and implement a comprehensive civil nuclear energy policy in the Philippines.

The MOU also supports the country’s strategies to achieve a Clean Energy Scenario and to develop a smart and green grid plan.

An MOU with the Philippine-American Educational Foundation (PAEF) was also signed by US Embassy Counselor for Public Affairs John Groch to create scholarships and academic exchanges centered around civil nuclear and renewable energy.

‘It focuses on one of the most essential elements of the Philippine civil nuclear aspirations-creating a workforce to safely bu
ild, deploy, and operate civil nuclear power solutions to drive the country’s green and secured energy future,’ Kritenbrink said.

‘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,’ he added.

Moreover, the US and the Philippines will host the first-ever nuclear energy suppliers’ forum in Manila in November this year to bring together US experts, private sector leaders, and Philippine energy stakeholders to solidify civil nuclear cooperation between Manila and Washington D.C.

For his part, Lotilla welcomed these initiatives of the US government to help the country’s clean energy goals.

‘In our Philippine Energy Plan for 2023 to 2050, we included for the first time nuclear power in the Philippines and we look forward to exploring the different opportunities for attaining this. We welcome the initiative of the United States government to have this working group of US firms that are
interested in offering services in the civil nuclear space,’ the DOE chief said.

‘While we have had no significant activities for many years, the renewed interest in civilian uses of nuclear power is now viewed by many of the Southeast Asian countries as a viable option,’ he added.

Source: Philippines News Agency