WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Obama Administration demonstrated its support for peaceful nuclear energy exports through bilateral cooperation with the Republic of Vietnam as the two nations initialed a commercial nuclear trade agreement. The agreement still requires both White House and congressional approval. Following is a statement from Richard Myers, the Nuclear Energy Institute’s vice president for policy development, planning and supplier programs.
“The nuclear energy industry and U.S. manufacturers and suppliers of commercial nuclear technologies applaud the Obama Administration for concluding negotiation of a nuclear energy cooperation agreement with the Republic of Vietnam. This agreement has the potential to result in $10 billion-$20 billion in U.S. nuclear exports. According to the Department of Commerce, this could create more than 50,000 high-paying U.S. jobs. In addition, this agreement will broaden U.S. leadership and influence in the critical issues of nuclear safety, security and nonproliferation.
“To support its rapid economic development, Vietnam is implementing an ambitious national plan to develop up to 10,000 megawatts of nuclear generating capacity by 2030 with the first reactors coming on line in 2020. Russia and Japan already secured agreements to develop nuclear energy projects in Vietnam, while U.S. firms have been sidelined absent this important agreement.
“Vietnam has worked closely with the United States and the international community to develop a responsible and transparent nuclear energy program. This has involved cooperation with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on regulatory issues and participation in vital safety issues including accession to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1982, the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 2006, and completion of a comprehensive safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency in 1990. Further, in 2010, Vietnam signed a memorandum of understanding with the United States that expressed its intent to rely on international markets for nuclear fuel supplies and not to pursue domestic enrichment capabilities.
“The global market for nuclear energy technologies is rapidly expanding, with 437 commercial nuclear reactors in operation, 72 under construction and 173 planned or on order.
“The global revival of nuclear energy presents the United States an opportunity to maintain and grow the domestic industry, but U.S. success in this sector can no longer be taken for granted. U.S. nuclear exports are critical if we are to achieve meaningful progress on a number of important issues: reducing emissions, increasing U.S. influence on nuclear safety, security and nonproliferation, and creation of tens of thousands of U.S. jobs.”