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Background Brief

United States-Vietnam Civil
Nuclear Agreement
Carlyle A. Thayer
October 10, 2013

[cllenL name deleLed]
WhaL ls your assessmenL of Lhe recenLly slgned nuclear accord beLween vleLnam and
unlLed SLaLes ln 8runel? Pow lmporLanL ls lL? WhaL are Lhe lmpllcaLlons for fuLure
cooperaLlon glven Lhe facL LhaL vleLnam ls plannlng Lo bulld several nuclear power
planLs?
Crlglnally Lhls agreemenL was Lo have been slgned by ÞresldenL Cbama and Þrlme
MlnlsLer nguyen 1an uzung buL Lhls was noL posslble afLer Cbama cancelled hls Lrlp
Lo SouLheasL Asla.
AnSWL8: 1hls agreemenL ls very lmporLanL because lL opens Lhe door Lo u.S.
parLlclpaLlon ln vleLnam's developmenL of lLs nuclear power lndusLry. 1hls
agreemenL slgnlfles LhaL Lhe u.S has sLraLeglc LrusL ln vleLnam for Lhe long Lerm. lL
follows a mulLllaLeral agreemenL several years ago beLween vleLnam, Lhe u.S.,
8ussla and Lhe lALA [lnLernaLlonal ALomlc Lnergy Agency] under whlch vleLnam
exchanged lLs hlghly enrlched uranlum for low enrlched uranlum wlLh 8ussla, and
agreed Lo safeguard nuclear maLerlal aL research lnsLlLuLes and hosplLals ln vleLnam.
ln summary, Lhe agreemenL clears all obsLacles ln u.S. law for Lhe u.S. Lo cooperaLe
wlLh vleLnam's domesLlc nuclear power lndusLry. lL should be noLed LhaL lL was
under Lhe Llsenhower AdmlnlsLraLlon LhaL Lhe u.S. esLabllshed vleLnam's flrsL
nuclear reacLor aL ua LaL under Lhe ALoms for Þeace Þrogram. ln oLher words
relaLlons have come full clrcle.

SuggesLed clLaLlon: Carlyle A. 1hayer, unlLed SLaLes-vleLnam Clvll nuclear
AgreemenL," !"#$%& ()*+,-.#*/$ 0#/12&),*3 0&4%5, CcLober 10, 2013. All
background brlefs are posLed on Scrlbd.com (search for 1hayer). 1o remove yourself
from Lhe malllng llsL Lype unSu8SC8l8L ln Lhe Sub[ecL headlng and hlL Lhe 8eply key.
1hayer ConsulLancy provldes pollLlcal analysls of currenL reglonal securlLy lssues and
oLher research supporL Lo selecLed cllenLs. 1hayer ConsulLancy was offlclally
reglsLered as a small buslness ln AusLralla ln 2002.

Thayer Consultancy
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