Published: 3/30/10, 2:05 AM EDT
HANOI, Vietnam (AP) - The United States and Vietnam signed an agreement Tuesday that may pave the way for U.S. firms to help build nuclear plants in the Southeast Asian country as it strives to meet booming energy demand.
The new agreement addresses nuclear safety and nonproliferation concerns and is a prerequisite to a deal that could allow companies like Westinghouse and General Electric to participate in Vietnam's nuclear energy sector.
"This is an important moment in our bilateral relations," U.S. Ambassador Michael Michalak said during a signing ceremony with Le Dinh Tien, Vietnam's vice minister of science and technology.