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US, Vietnam ink civil nuclear deal

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MATTHEW LEE | October 9, 2013 11:13 PM EST | AP

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei — BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei (AP) — The United States and Vietnam are moving to boost cooperation in the energy sector by signing a deal on civilian nuclear power that will allow American firms into the market and commits the Vietnamese to not producing ingredients for atomic weapons.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Vietnamese counterpart inked the so-called "123 agreement" on Thursday at the East Asian Summit in Brunei. Under its terms, Vietnam pledges not to enrich its own uranium and instead acquire what it needs on the international market.

Once the U.S. energy secretary and Nuclear Regulatory Commission sign off, the deal will go to President Barack Obama for formal consideration. Once he signs it, Congress will have 90 days to review it. If lawmakers do nothing, the deal will take effect.