the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Message to the Congress -- Transmitting the Agreement for Cooperation Between the US and Vietnam on the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy

TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:

I am pleased to transmit to the Congress, pursuant to sections 123 b. and 123 d. of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (42 U.S.C. 2153(b), (d)) (the "Act"), the text of a proposed Agreement for Cooperation between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy (the "Agreement"). I am also pleased to transmit my written approval, authorization, and determination concerning the Agreement, and an unclassified Nuclear Proliferation Assessment Statement (NPAS) concerning the Agreement. (In accordance with section 123 of the Act, as amended by title XII of the Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-277), a classified annex to the NPAS, prepared by the Secretary of State in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence, summarizing relevant classified information, will be submitted to the Congress separately.) The joint memorandum submitted to me by the Secretaries of State and Energy and a letter from the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission stating the views of the Commission are also enclosed. An addendum to the NPAS containing a comprehensive analysis of Vietnam's export control system with respect to nuclear-related matters, including interactions with other countries of proliferation concern and the actual or suspected nuclear, dual-use, or missile-related transfers to such countries, pursuant to section 102A of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 403-1), as amended, is being submitted separately by the Director of National Intelligence.

The proposed Agreement has been negotiated in accordance with the Act and other applicable law. In my judgment, it meets all applicable statutory requirements and will advance the nonproliferation and other foreign policy interests of the United States.

The proposed Agreement provides a comprehensive framework for peaceful nuclear cooperation with Vietnam based on a mutual commitment to nuclear nonproliferation. Vietnam has affirmed that it does not intend to seek to acquire sensitive fuel cycle capabilities, but instead will rely upon the international market in order to ensure a reliable nuclear fuel supply for Vietnam. This political commitment by Vietnam has been reaffirmed in the preamble of the proposed Agreement. The Agreement also contains a legally binding provision that prohibits Vietnam from enriching or reprocessing U.S.-origin material without U.S. consent.

The proposed Agreement will have an initial term of 30 years from the date of its entry into force, and will continue in force thereafter for additional periods of 5 years each. Either party may terminate the Agreement on 6 months' advance written notice at the end of the initial 30 year term or at the end of any subsequent 5-year period. Additionally, either party may terminate the Agreement on 1 year's written notice. I recognize the importance of executive branch consultations with the Congress regarding the status of the Agreement prior to the end of the 30-year period after entry into force and prior to the end of each 5-year period thereafter. To that end, it is my strong recommendation that future administrations conduct such consultations with the appropriate congressional committees at the appropriate times.

The proposed Agreement permits the transfer of information, material, equipment (including reactors), and components for nuclear research and nuclear power production. It does not permit transfers of Restricted Data, sensitive nuclear technology, sensitive nuclear facilities, or major critical components of such facilities. In the event of termination of the Agreement, key nonproliferation conditions and controls continue with respect to material, equipment, and components subject to the Agreement.

Vietnam is a non-nuclear-weapon state party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Vietnam has in force a comprehensive safeguards agreement and an Additional Protocol with the International Atomic Energy Agency. Vietnam is a party to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, which establishes international standards of physical protection for the use, storage, and transport of nuclear material, and has ratified the 2005 Amendment to the Convention. A more detailed discussion of Vietnam's intended civil nuclear program and its nuclear nonproliferation policies and practices, including its nuclear export policies and practices, is provided in the NPAS and in a classified annex to the NPAS submitted to you separately. As noted above, the Director of National Intelligence will provide an addendum to the NPAS containing a comprehensive analysis of Vietnam's export control system with respect to nuclear-related matters.

I have considered the views and recommendations of the interested departments and agencies in reviewing the proposed Agreement and have determined that its performance will promote, and will not constitute an unreasonable risk to, the common defense and security. Accordingly, I have approved the Agreement and authorized its execution and urge that the Congress give it favorable consideration.

This transmission shall constitute a submittal for purposes of both sections 123 b. and 123 d. of the Act. My Administration is prepared to begin immediately the consultations with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee as provided for in section 123 b. Upon completion of the 30 days of continuous session review provided for in section 123 b., the 60 days of continuous session review provided for in section 123 d. shall commence.

BARACK OBAMA