WASHINGTON, Aug 9, 2010. The Obama administration is in advanced negotiations to share nuclear fuel and technology with Vietnam in a deal that would allow Hanoi to enrich its own uranium, terms that critics on Capitol Hill say would undercut the more stringent demands the U.S. has been making of its partners in the Middle East.
U.S. officials familiar with the matter say negotiators have given a full nuclear-cooperation proposal to Vietnam, and have started briefing House and Senate foreign-relations committees.
Vietnam signed an initial memorandum of understanding with the Bush administration in 2001 to pursue cooperation with the U.S. on securing fissile materials and developing civilian nuclear power. The Obama administration has accelerated talks with Hanoi in recent months aimed at completing a deal to allow for the exchange of know-how and cooperation in security, storage and educational areas.
It would also allow U.S. firms such as General Electric Co. and Bechtel Corp. to sell nuclear components and reactors to Vietnam, according to U.S. officials.