2 PH-US nuclear deals ‘significant stride’ for cheaper, clean energy

By: Philippine Resources November 19, 2023

House Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez (File photo)

House Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Thursday said the signing of two agreements on nuclear cooperation constitute a significant stride towards providing Filipinos with cheaper, cleaner and sustainable electricity.

Romualdez made this remark as he witnessed the signing of a groundbreaking cooperative agreement between Meralco and Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC) which will pave the way for the deployment of Micro Modular Reactors (MMRs) in the Philippines.

The Philippines is also set to sign with the US government the 123 nuclear deal or the “peaceful nuclear cooperation agreement” on the sidelines of the President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s participation in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in San Francisco.

"The partnership between Meralco and USNC is a game-changer for the Philippines' energy landscape. Micro Modular Reactors represent a paradigm shift in delivering cheap, safe, reliable, and scalable nuclear energy,” Romualdez said.

“This initiative aligns with our President Marcos Jr.’s commitment to diversify our energy sources to fuel economic growth and at the same time address the challenges of climate change," he added.

Under the agreement, a feasibility study will be conducted for the potential deployment of MMRs in Meralco sites aimed at enforcing the sustainable energy agenda and providing affordable and dependable access to power, particularly to the underserved and off-grid areas, for economic empowerment.

The study would enable Meralco to obtain an estimate of the environmental and social impact, capital expenditure and operational costs, among others, related to the siting, construction and operation of one or more MMR energy systems in the Philippines.

Romualdez said the Meralco-USNC cooperative agreement will facilitate a comprehensive pre-feasibility study to assess the potential for deploying MMRs in the Philippines.

He said the parallel landmark 123 Nuclear Agreement marks a significant milestone in fostering a strategic partnership to enhance the Philippines' energy capabilities.

"Today marks a significant leap forward in our journey towards a sustainable and resilient energy future. These agreements are a testament to our shared commitment to advancing technology and fostering collaborations for the greater good of our nation and the global community," he added.

The “123 Agreement” will provide the legal basis for civil nuclear energy cooperation and allow the export of nuclear fuel, reactors, equipment and special nuclear material from the US to the Philippines.

Romualdez also welcomed the signing of agreement between the Ayala Healthcare Holdings, Inc. and US-based Varian Medical Systems to improve access to quality cancer care in the Philippines by sharing their expertise in establishing and running the Philippines’ first dedicated specialty oncology hospital.

“This collaboration between AC Health and Varian Medical Systems is a significant stride towards enhancing cancer care in our country," he said.

Romualdez said the combined strengths of a respected healthcare provider and a global leader in medical technology would create a positive and lasting impact on the lives of many Filipinos affected by cancer.

Under the agreement, the Healthway Cancer Care Hospital of AC Health will serve as the hub of a network of oncology clinics strategically located throughout Metro Manila. This hub-and-spoke model will make it easier for patients to access comprehensive cancer care regardless of their location.

The parties to the agreement will also collaborate on research and innovation to improve the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer, which is among the leading causes of death in the Philippines.

In 2023, cancer became the third leading cause of death in the Philippines, with about 141,021 new cancer cases and 86,337 cancer deaths every year.

“The potential benefits this groundbreaking agreement brings to Filipino cancer patients are aligned with the priorities the House of Representatives, which include initiatives to help victims of this dreaded disease in our country,” Romualdez said.

Romualdez also lauded the joint venture between Lloyd Laboratory and DIFGEN Pharmaceuticals for product development of a sterile solution and marketing of the product for export to the United States.

The partnership aims to position the Philippines as a key player in pharmaceutical products exports. By Zaldy De Layola


Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency

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