What fraud looks like in the new nuclear business

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IN the past week, there has been a fresh volume of news from the nuclear energy space, the latest bit of which was an opinion submitted by the Department of Justice (DoJ) to the Department of Foreign Affairs, verifying the legality of the ‘Agreement for Cooperation Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy,’ otherwise known as a 123 Agreement, signed between the Philippines and the United States last November. That’s fine; it’s the DoJ’s job to check that agreements the government makes with other entities are compatible with Philippine law, and while no one expected there would be any issues with a boilerplate agreement the US has been using for more than 60 years, there is no harm in giving it the once-over.

With the agreement in place and now endorsed as valid, the Philippines can now take advantage of the technology and knowledge transfer in nuclear energy offered by the US government and the nuclear industry. Given that the Philippines’ attitude toward nuclear energy can be most charitably described as ‘idiotically na├»ve,’ the chances that the country will find itself on the wrong end of a financial boondoggle perpetrated by the new breed of nuclear tech bros have just gone up enormously.

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