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Philippines to sign nuclear power study deal with US — DOE

The Philippines is set to enter into a cooperation agreement with the United States to study the viability of including nuclear power in the country’s energy mix, an official of the Department of Energy (DOE) said Wednesday.

“We are signing a cooperation [agreement] on small modular reactors study with the United States two weeks from now,” Energy Undersecretary Gerardo Erguiza Jr. said at a virtual press conference.

During the virtual Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum on Wednesday, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said the DOE is now waiting for President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval to include nuclear energy in the country’s power mix after it submitted the study conducted by the Nuclear Energy Program Inter-Agency Committee (NEP-IAC) in 2020.

In March 2020, Cusi presented to Duterte and members of the Cabinet a proposal to include nuclear power in the country’s energy mix, as the Philippines is expected to have a rapid growth in electricity demand, in which 24/7 power is essential.

The Philippines signed a similar cooperation deal with Russia in 2019.

In particular, a memorandum of intent on cooperation to conduct a pre-feasibility study on construction in the Philippines of nuclear power plants based on small modular reactor (SMR) technology was signed by the DOE and Russian State Nuclear Energy Corp. (Rosatom) Overseas JSC in October 2019.

The ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, according to Erguiza, will have no effect on the country's nuclear power study agreement with the US.

“We don’t see any problem with Russia in that connection because it's a cooperation on building the nuclear infrastructure in the country,” he said. — VBL, GMA News