News Release

After more than 60 years, PBBM’s support to nuclear cooperation paves way for clean and sustainable energy for PH

The civil nuclear cooperation signed between the Philippines and the United States completed the country’s search for means to harness nuclear power for peaceful means, Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Raphael Lotilla said on Thursday.

In his speech, Lotilla recalled the efforts of the Philippine government in investing in nuclear energy that started during the term of the late president Ramon Magsaysay.

“A decade after the first atomic bomb devastated Hiroshima, the Philippines, under President Ramon Magsaysay, joined in 1955 the Atoms for Peace Program, “ Lotilla said.

“Building on this foundation, the succeeding administration led by President Carlos García established in 1958 the Philippine Atomic Energy Commission. President Diosdado Macapagal, in turn, initiated in 1963 the pre-investment study for a nuclear power plant in Luzon,” he added.

Lotilla said that the pace of the country’s nuclear power development efforts stepped up during the term of the late president Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr., with the signing of a new Philippine-US agreement concerning uses of atomic energy on June 13, 1960.

The agreement explicitly referred to the design, construction and operation of power producing reactors and research reactors, Lotilla said.

“Three days after, the Philippine Congress approved [Republic Act No. 5207,] the Atomic Energy Regulatory and Liability Act. In 1971, the National Power Corporation was authorized by law to establish and operate nuclear power plants,” Lotilla said.

“The rest is more recent history. A nuclear power plant was built but never operated,” he added, saying that the decision to abandon the nuclear option “was nevertheless followed by an orderly and safe cessation of activities.”

Of all the policies put in place by previous administrations, Lotilla noted that the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant remained intact but was never operational for more than three decades since its construction began.

Lotilla, however, pointed out that the 1987 Philippine Constitution remained open to all peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

He said that the 123 Agreement signed during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Week in San Francisco, California, 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 new Agreement facilitates bilateral 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,” Lotilla said during the signing of the 123 Agreement.

Lotilla recognized President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s commitment to adopt nuclear energy and assured that the agreement with the US is compliant under the standards of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

“Under the leadership of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., the negotiation of the present agreement with the US was made possible, its predecessor agreement having expired in 1998. Every step of the way, the Agreement recognizes adherence to standards and safeguards set by the International Atomic Energy Agency,” Lotilla said.

In his speech, Lotilla thanked President Marcos for supporting the negotiations that finally led to the signing of an agreement on nuclear power.

“On behalf of the member agencies of the Philippine Nuclear Energy Program-Inter-Agency Committee, we would like to express our sincerest gratitude to President Marcos, Jr. for his support and to the two countries’ respective negotiating teams for successfully concluding the negotiations leading to the signing of this Agreement,” Lotilla said. PND