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Speaker hails PBBM meet with US nuclear energy proponents

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President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. leads the Philippine delegation, including Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez (1st and 2nd from left) and several members of the Cabinet, in a meeting with officials of the Ultra Safe Nuclear Corp. (USNC) led by its founder and CEO Francesco Venneri Thursday at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Washington D.C. to discuss the progress of USNC’s investment plans in the Philippines. UNSC and Meralco have signed an agreement in 2023 paving the way for the deployment of Micro Modular Reactors (MMRs) in the Philippines. The meeting with USNC took place hours before the historic trilateral meeting between President Marcos Jr. US President Joe Biden, and Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to deepen the relations and robust cooperation among the three nations*

Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said the follow-up meeting of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. with US proponents of nuclear energy is a step forward in realizing his dream for adequate, reliable, and cheaper electricity for all Filipinos.

Hours before his historic trilateral summit with US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, President Marcos, Jr. led the Philippine delegation in a meeting with key executives of the Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC) Thursday afternoon in Washington D.C.

The meeting focused, among others, on the developments regarding USNC investment plans in the Philippines.

“This follow-up meeting would sustain the momentum of this game-changing cooperative venture and move us a step closer to the realization of President Marcos’ vision of providing adequate, reliable, and cheaper supply of electricity for all Filipinos,” said Romualdez, leader of the 300-plus strong House of Representatives.

On the sidelines of President Marcos, Jr.’s participation in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in San Francisco in November last year, the President witnessed UNSC and Meralco sign an agreement, paving the way for the deployment of Micro Modular Reactors (MMRs) in the Philippines.

Romualdez, who is one of the Philippine officials who were with President Marcos, Jr. during the meeting with USNC executives Thursday (US time), noted that according to Department of Energy data, only 96 percent of houses nationwide have been electrified as of 2020.

“As an archipelago, our country’s physical landscape presents daunting challenges in connecting remote communities to the national grid,” the Speaker said.

“And while many island communities are served by fuel-fired power generation facilities, they often times endure rotational brownouts and suffer from expensive power rates. The MMR promises to offer a viable solution to these challenges,” he added.

Among others, he noted that MMRs are significantly smaller than traditional reactors, requiring less land for construction, making them ideal for deployment in remote areas or supplementing existing power grids in urban locations.

Due to their simplified design and factory fabrication MMRs are expected to have lower capital costs compared to traditional nuclear reactors. MMRs can be deployed in a modular fashion, adding capacity as needed, allowing for a more flexible approach to energy needs.

“Recognizing the vital importance of energy security to our aspirations for sustained growth and development and a better life for our people, the House of Representatives stands solidly behind President Marcos, Jr.’s endeavors to ensure ample, dependable, and reasonably-priced electricity,” Romualdez said.

He noted that on November 22, 2023, the House of Representatives approved House Bill 9293, or the “Philippine National Nuclear Energy Safety Act.” Last March 4, the House also approved HB 9876 or the “Philippine Nuclear Liability Act.”

The twin measures have been transmitted to the Senate for its action.

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

The parallel landmark 123 Nuclear Agreement between the US and the Philippines, also signed in November last year, provides the legal basis for civil nuclear energy cooperation and allows the export of nuclear fuel, reactors, equipment, and special nuclear material from the US to the Philippines.*


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May 2024

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