Meralco and USNC advance Micro-Modular Reactor development as a long-term solution to the Philippines’ power needs
His Excellency Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (center), along with (l to r): Ernesto ‘Bong’ Sta. Maria, Pilipinas Global Network Ltd.; Dom Camu, Meralco; Roland Backhaus, USNC; Ronnie Aperocho, Meralco; President Marcos; Francesco Venneri, Founder and CEO, USNC; Ambassador John Bohn, USNC; Monch Cruz, Vesticom.

Meralco and USNC advance Micro-Modular Reactor development as a long-term solution to the Philippines’ power needs

  • Meralco and USNC sign cooperative agreement to study the deployment of one or more Micro-Modular™ Reactor (MMR®) Energy Systems in the Philippines
  • Work under this agreement will examine environmental and social impact, technical and siting requirements, and commercial viability, among other topics
  • Agreement paves the way for advanced nuclear technology to diversify the country’s energy sources and promote energy stability and security

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA (November 15, 2023) – The Manila Electric Company (Meralco), the Philippines’ largest electric distribution utility, and Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC), the U.S.-based global leader in the deployment of fourth-generation gas-cooled Micro-Modular™ Reactor (MMR®) Energy Systems, today signed a cooperative agreement to study the potential deployment of one or more MMR Energy Systems in the Philippines. The agreement builds on the partnership between the two companies announced in August.

Meralco Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Manuel V. Pangilinan 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 His Excellency Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

“USNC is changing the nuclear safety and national energy security conversations in the Philippines with the MMR. This cooperative 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.

“This also signifies the commitment of the Philippines, through Meralco, to explore and utilize diverse energy sources for the benefit of Filipinos. We believe that nuclear technology will help balance the need to meet the growing demand of our country with the equally crucial need to transition towards a sustainable energy future,” he added.

Under the cooperative agreement, USNC will conduct a pre-feasibility study that will run for four (4) months to familiarize Meralco with MMR systems and how these can be effectively utilized in the Philippines. Depending on the results of the pre-feasibility study, Meralco has the option to conduct a more detailed feasibility study with focus on the adoption and deployment of MMR energy systems.

The study will help Meralco in critical decisions and potential future activities on project-specific studies and project development plans at identified sites. The study 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.  One or more MMR nuclear batteries combine their heat in the heat storage unit, from where electric power or superheated steam can be extracted through conventional means to meet a wide range of power requirements, from tens to hundreds of MW. USNC has developed and patented its Fully Ceramic Micro-encapsulated (FCM®) fuel used in the MMR to provide the safest possible nuclear power system at the most fundamental level.

“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.”

This nuclear initiative is part of Meralco’s long-term sustainability strategy through which the power company will play out its just, orderly, and affordable energy transition to clean energy across three horizons. Meralco will accelerate its shift to green power as it assesses and adopts next-generation clean technologies such as MMR energy systems.

As a major player in the energy industry, Meralco is leading the push for the integration of nuclear power in the country’s energy portfolio. The company recently launched the Filipino Scholars and Interns on Nuclear Engineering (FISSION) program in a bid to develop the Philippines’ technical and regulatory talent pipeline through education and training in the highly specialized field of nuclear engineering.

A leading innovator in advanced nuclear energy technologies, USNC is working with partners in the United Sates and around the world to develop secure and reliable carbon-free heat and power solutions where they are needed. The MMR enables new applications for the benefits of nuclear energy beyond traditional centralized electric power grids.

USNC is in pre-licensing engagement with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) through Global First Power (GFP), USNC’s joint venture with Ontario Power Generation, and with U.K. Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR). The news follows recent announcements including the establishment of a joint venture with Framatome Inc. to manufacture commercial quantities of advanced nuclear fuels, selecting a site for its MMR Assembly Plant, and the successful delivery of advanced TRISO fuel for NASA produced at USNC’s Pilot Fuel Manufacturing facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.