US secretary of state John Kerry and Vietnam's foreign minister Pham Binh Minh signed a legally binding nuclear agreement, known as a Section 123 Agreement, in Brunei in Oct. 2013.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday approved an agreement on civilian nuclear cooperation between the U.S. and Vietnam, according to an AP report.
The agreement, which is pending endorsement by the full Senate, would allow U.S. firms into Vietnam's expanding market for nuclear power, the report said.
The U.S. and Vietnamese governments reached the agreement last October, and it was approved by President Barack Obama in February of this year.
Sources said it contains a Vietnamese commitment, although not a legally binding one, to refrain from pursuing uranium enrichment and spent fuel reprocessing, according to AP.
The so-called Section 123 Agreement will allow U.S. companies to export nuclear equipment to Vietnam and take advantage of the country’s potential nuclear power market, which is expected to grow from $10 billion currently to $50 billion by the end of 2030.