U.S., Vietnam reportedly in talks to share nuclear fuel, technology

08:48, August 06, 2010      

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The U.S. and Vietnam are in negotiations to share nuclear fuel and technology that would ultimately allow Hanoi to enrich uranium on its own soil, according to media reports Thursday.

The Wall Street Journal quoted officials familiar with the matter as saying negotiators have given a full nuclear-cooperation proposal to Vietnam, and have started briefing Congressional foreign relations committees.

Led by the State Department, the negotiation differs markedly from previous nuclear deals the Obama administration made with other countries.

President Barack Obama signed with the United Arab Emirates last year a nuclear cooperation agreement, requiring the Gulf country to purchase all nuclear fuel from the international market. The administration is also pursuing the same standards in talks with Jordan.

But Vietnam seemed to be an exception. According to the report, the State Department is setting a different standard for the Southeast Asian country, which would allow it to develop indigenous nuclear-fuel cycle under the oversight of International Atomic Energy Agency.

The Vietnamese are now studying the final draft of the agreement, and further talks are expected in the fall, the paper quoted diplomats as saying.

Counterproliferation experts and U.S. lawmakers briefed on the talks say the deal marks a step backward in Washington's recent nonproliferation efforts.

Source: Xinhua


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