US-Vietnam civil nuclear cooperation agreement

The US and Vietnam have signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement (123 agreement) that will allow US companies  to enter the Vietnamese nuclear market. NucNet news agency reported today.  Now US companies such as General Electric and Westinghouse will be able to sell nuclear power technology and fuel to the Southeast Asian nation.

John Kerry, the US secretary of state, signed the agreement with his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh on the sidelines of an annual Asia-Pacific leaders’ summit in Brunei. President Barack Obama did not attend the Asia-Pacific leaders’ summit because of the federal government shutdown.

According to sources, Vietnam has the second-largest market, after China, for nuclear power in East Asia, and US companies can now compete. This development  is in a way unusual; USA, during the Vietnam war inflicted maximum damage to that communist nation. I wonder if such cooperation is possible between two such arch rivals why India and Pakistan cannot start on a clean slate.

NucNet  reported that according to John  Kerry the US secretary of State what is a 10 billion US dollar (USD) (7.3 billion euros) market today is expected to grow into a USD 50 billion market by the year 2030.

The deal, which is required under US law before American companies can export nuclear equipment to any particular country, has been under discussion for several years. The agreement is subject to review by Congress once Barack Obama approves it.

According to NucNet, Vietnam is planning to build four nuclear units in the southeastern province of Ninh Thuan. The government approved the project in 2009. Agreements have been signed with Russia to build the first two units and with Japan to build the second two. Now USA is joining the race.

About ksparthasarathy

I am a former Secretary of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board. I am a former Raja Ramanna Fellow in the Department of Atomic Energy. Free lance journalism is my hobby
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