FACT SHEET: Enhancing U.S.-Vietnam Civil Nuclear Clean Energy Cooperation
The United States and Vietnam intend to deepen our clean energy cooperation in the civil nuclear field in recognition that the safe and secure use of nuclear power is an important low-carbon energy source for reducing emissions from the global power sector as we address climate change and for providing energy security to a greater number of people. At the center of this relationship is our shared commitment to the highest levels of nuclear safety, security, and nonproliferation, as well as the sustainment of strong, independent and effective regulatory bodies. Earlier this month, the United States and Vietnam signed the Administrative Arrangement under our historic agreement on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy (123 Agreement), which initially opened the door to nuclear trade between our two countries in 2014. To further build on this robust cooperation in the civil nuclear field, the United States and Vietnam aim to:
Build Institutional Connections:
- Establish a new U.S.-Vietnam Joint Committee on Civil Nuclear Cooperation to facilitate the implementation of the 123 Agreement as well as cooperation and information sharing, including engagement from both the government and private sectors, in a range of areas including nuclear safety, security, safeguards and nonproliferation.
- Work towards the establishment of a Technical Support Center for Nuclear Security and Safeguards in Vietnam. Through human resource development and technical and scientific support in nuclear security, the Center would contribute to strengthening nuclear security in Vietnam and throughout the region.
- Support efforts by Vietnam to ratify the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC) and the International Convention on the Suppression of the Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.
Enhance Training and Education:
- Increase academic and professional exchange opportunities in civil nuclear energy, safety and security through United States educational programs, such as the Fulbright Specialist Program, the International Visitor Leadership Program on Demand, and scholarships to support Vietnamese nuclear science and engineering students and professionals.
- Strengthen Vietnam’s safeguards capacity through training on Vietnam’s information management system for safeguards, establishing a national safeguards inspections program, and development of a strategic plan for a safeguards laboratory.
- Provide capacity building activities at Idaho National Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory to train researchers from Vietnamese institutions in: fuels and materials for a new research reactor; nuclear power plant simulator and human reliability; and safety analysis and design-basis accidents and severe accidents in a nuclear power plant. This training would start in the 4th Quarter of 2016.
- Complement Vietnamese university nuclear curriculum programs with the Department of Energy supported remote reactor training from North Carolina State University.
- Facilitate information sharing and school contacts through the Nuclear Uniform Curriculum program, which consists of 32 U.S.-based community colleges that offer two-year nuclear technology degrees for future nuclear plant operators.
Promote Effective Regulators:
- Build nuclear regulatory capacity in Vietnam to meet international standards through the exchange of regulatory experience and nuclear safety training with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. These activities are designed to assist Vietnam in the development of its regulatory infrastructure and to maintain the core technical competencies to help prepare Vietnam’s regulator to license and construct new reactors.
- Support nuclear security regulatory development and associated training in Vietnam through cooperation between the Vietnam Agency for Radiation and Nuclear Safety (VARANS) and U.S. Government agencies.
Strengthen Export Controls:
- Develop Vietnam’s capacity to regulate trade and transfer dual-use goods, equipment, and technologies, and establish related border enforcement measures through the U.S. Export Control and Related Border Security Program. These activities are designed to improve Vietnam’s strategic trade control legal framework and meet international standards.
- Build capacity within Vietnam Customs to recognize nuclear, missile, chemical, and biological dual-use commodities controlled by the multilateral export control regimes. Through training and workshops, assist Vietnam to establish a strategic trade control system to promote nonproliferation and economic development.
Secure and Track Nuclear and Radiological Materials:
- Partner with a diverse group of Vietnamese government stakeholders to build sustainable capacity focused on securing nuclear and radiological material and deter, detect, and interdict the trafficking of those materials. This is accomplished through workshops, training, exchange of best practices, security upgrades at sites with high-activity radiological material, and the installation of radiation detection systems at key ports.
- Support the development of Vietnam's new system to automatically track and report the transfer of nuclear and radiological material in accordance with IAEA standards, including through provision of software and hardware components, advice, guidance, and quality checks.
- Support the VARANS Nuclear Security Program through a series of four nuclear security training workshops by the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency in cooperation with other U.S. Government agencies.
Strengthen Incident Response Capabilities:
- Enhance Vietnam’s nuclear incident preparedness and response through training courses on detecting and responding to radiological/nuclear emergencies, consequence management, and medical response; operational training for major public events; provision of access to U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration emergency response reach-back and technical capabilities; and potentially provision of emergency response technical equipment to Vietnam.
Public-Private Educational Support:
- Promote joint U.S. Government – U.S. Industry training for Vietnamese officials in nuclear science and engineering and other related programs.
Promote Bilateral Civil Nuclear Trade
- Organize a Civil Nuclear Trade Mission in 2017, supporting U.S.-Vietnamese industry cooperation in the development of Vietnam’s civil nuclear program.