Obama approves Vietnam nuclear deal

President Barack Obama Monday approved a civilian nuclear pact with Vietnam which could lead to the sale of US reactors to Washington's energy-hungry former war foe.

The move by the president formally opened a 90-day review process in Congress. If no legislation is passed contravening the accord, it will then come into force.

Under the accord, US officials said, Vietnam committed not to produce radioactive ingredients for nuclear weapons and signed up to US nonproliferation standards, which the White House bills as the strongest in the world.

"I have determined that the performance of the agreement will promote, and will not constitute an unreasonable risk to, the common defense and security," Obama said in a memorandum to the Energy Department.

Vietnam agreed not to enrich or reprocess uranium, key steps in the manufacture of nuclear weapons, in the deal signed on the sidelines of an East Asia summit in Brunei in October.

It also pledged to seek components for its fuel cycle on the open, international market.

Vietnam's market for nuclear power -- already the second largest in East Asia after China -- is expected to grow to $50 billion by 2030.

Vietnam faces energy shortages and is pursuing nuclear energy, officials have said, with a plan that calls for the first nuclear power plant to be in commercial operation by 2020.

It wants nuclear energy to provide more than 10 percent of its total power generation needs by 2030.

The communist-ruled nation already has a nuclear cooperation agreement with Russia. Despite Hanoi's determination to pursue nuclear power, there has been domestic opposition with many voicing fears that the locations selected for the plants make them vulnerable to earthquakes or tsunamis.

Share your thoughts

Discussion 1 : 25/02/2014 at 10:26 AM
Discussion 2 : 25/02/2014 at 08:46 AM
With China attempting to claim everything within 1000 miles of its borders that isn't nailed down (and some that is) its not surprising that Southeast Asian Nations would like to do more business with the US. I don't view this as anti-Thai whatsoever. I feel sorry for the Vietnamese who need nuclear power. Its is dangerous, as witnessed in Fukushima. But it is better than coal, or nothing.
Discussion 3 : 25/02/2014 at 08:03 AM
Thanks to Suthep and your backers for those US embassy protests, and undermining our government.
Discussion 4 : 25/02/2014 at 07:12 AM
This is what happens when a country is shown to be run by incompetent individuals. Thailand, you have been completely dismissed by Washington. They have already made the decision that Vietnam is a much more trustworthy and worthwhile partner to have in SE Asia and Vietnam, not Thailand, will subsequently prosper with new technology and investment. You reap what you sow.

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