The Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) and United States-based Ultra Safe Nuclear Corp. (USNC) signed last November 15 a cooperative agreement to study the potential deployment of one or more MMR (micro-modular reactor) Energy Systems in the Philippines.
Meralco Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan, who was represented by Meralco Executive Vice President Ronnie Aperocho, and USNC Founder and CEO Francesco Venneri executed the deal at the sidelines of the 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit. It was witnessed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
The agreement builds on the partnership between the two companies announced in August.
“USNC is changing the nuclear safety and energy security conversations in the Philippines with these MMRs. This agreement moves us forward with a partner who understands these important issues alongside the essential nature of the cost and reliability of the electricity supply,” Pangilinan said in a statement released Thursday.
Under the cooperative agreement, USNC will conduct a prefeasibility study that will run for four months to familiarize Meralco with MMR systems and how these can be effectively utilized in the Philippines.
Depending on the results of the prefeasibility study, Meralco has the option to conduct a more detailed feasibility study with focus on the adoption and deployment of MMR energy systems.
“This also signifies the commitment of Meralco to explore and utilize diverse energy sources for the benefit of Filipinos. Nuclear technology should be able to help us meet our country’s growing demand for energy, achieve energy independence, and transition towards a sustainable energy future,” added Pangilinan.
The study is expected to help Meralco in critical decisions and potential future activities on project-specific studies and project development plans at identified sites. It will assess financial, technical, safety, and siting, among other considerations.
The MMR Energy System features the high temperature helium-cooled micro reactor, the MMR unit or “nuclear battery” that can safely and reliably provide up to 45 MWth of high-quality heat, delivered into a centralized heat storage unit.
“Meralco is demonstrating real leadership in advancing the energy security and sustainability roadmap for the Philippines,” said Venneri. “Our MMR nuclear batteries can play a major role in delivering those benefits. The plans that will quickly follow this study place Meralco well on the way toward creating a reliable, low-carbon, equitable and secure future for Filipinos.”
Meralco will accelerate its shift to green power as it assesses and adopts next-generation clean technologies such as MMR energy systems.
The company recently launched the Filipino Scholars and Interns on Nuclear Engineering program in a bid to develop the Philippines’s technical and regulatory talent pipeline through education and training in the highly specialized field of nuclear engineering.