US President Barack Obama on February 24 approved a civilian nuclear deal with Vietnam that allows US businesses to export civilian nuclear technology and facilities to the Southeast Asian nation.

In a memo to the US Department of Energy, the president said the agreement will boost cooperation between the two countries, especially in civilian nuclear development, without constituting an unreasonable risk to common defence and security.

The US Congress has 90 days to review the pact, which will go into effect if lawmakers do nothing.

The agreement was signed by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Brunei in October 2013.

Under the document, Vietnam pledged to rely on the international market for its nuclear fuel supply rather than enrich uranium or reprocess plutonium itself.

The country is pursuing nuclear energy in order to deal with its present shortage of energy, aiming to meet over 10 percent of the national power demand in 2030.

Vietnam’s nuclear power market is estimated to rank second in Southeast Asia, only after China, with an estimated turnover of 50 billion USD in the next two decades.-VNA