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"[Arms Control Today] has become indispensable! I think it is the combination of the critical period we are in and the quality of the product. I found myself reading the May issue from cover to cover."

– Frank von Hippel
Co-Director of Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University
June 1, 2018
Vietnam Nuclear Pact Sent to Congress

Daniel Horner

The Obama administration submitted to Congress on May 8 an agreement for civilian nuclear cooperation with Vietnam, a pact that could feed a long-standing debate over how the United States pursues its nonproliferation policies through such agreements.

A key issue in the debate is how hard the United States should press its potential nuclear trade partners to forgo uranium enrichment and spent fuel reprocessing, activities that are considered sensitive because they can be used to produce nuclear explosive material.

The preamble to the agreement expresses Vietnam’s intent “to rely on existing international markets for nuclear fuel services, rather than acquiring sensitive nuclear technologies.” The Obama administration had described this commitment after Vietnam and the United States initialed the agreement last October (see ACT, November 2013), but the text was not made public until last month.