Philippines picked as regional HQ for US civil nuclear work group

The Philippines has been chosen as the regional headquarters for a US work group aiming to promote the civil nuclear industry. A US official says this initiative will strengthen cooperation between the two nations in advancing nuclear power.

The move was announced Tuesday on the sidelines of an international business forum held in Manila. Officials from both countries say the group will provide opportunities for Southeast Asian markets.

US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink said, "This industry-led group will connect Philippine partners with US companies, providing world-class technology solutions and best practices to accelerate Philippines' transition to clean and safe nuclear energy."

Philippine Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla said, "The renewed interest in civilian uses of nuclear power is now viewed by many of the Southeast Asian countries as a viable option."

The two allied countries also signed agreements to promote civil nuclear cooperation and academic exchanges.

Manila and Washington had signed an agreement in November that provides legal framework for potential nuclear power projects with US providers in the Philippines.

The move was seen as an attempt to address energy costs in the Philippines, where electricity rates are among the highest in Asia.