Vietnam to build first nuclear power plant in central region

Vietnam is likely to pour 3.4 billion US dollars into constructing its first nuclear power plant in central Ninh Thuan province, which is scheduled to become operational in the 2017-2020 period, a local official said in Hanoi Wednesday.

"We've submitted to the government a pre-feasibility study on building a 2,000-MW nuclear power plant either in Ninh Phuoc or Ninh Hai (two districts of Ninh Thuan). Total investment for it is 3.4 billion dollars," chief of the International Cooperation Department under the Vietnam Institute of Energy, Tran Thanh Lien, said at a press conference held after a Vietnam-France seminar on selecting technology and location for the plant.

Vietnam's energy demand is estimated at 230 billion kwh in 2020, of which 165 billion kwh will be met by domestic primary sources like fossil fuel, some 5 billion kwh by renewable sources, 20 billion kwh by imports, and 40 billion kwh by nuclear energy and thermoelectricity generated from plants using imported coal, he said.

"Because the power plant will generate only 14 billion kwh, or even the output doubles (28 billion kwh), we'll still face power shortage in 2020. So, we plan to import electricity and some 4-5 million tons of coal to feed our thermoelectric plants," he said, noting that Vietnam will purchase electricity with output of 2,000 mw from Laos, and of 1,000 mw from China and Cambodia each.

"We're building a legal corridor for nuclear energy development. Besides, we'll hold more international seminars on the issue. A seminar on nuclear energy's safety and economic aspects will be held in the first quarter of next year," Hong said, adding that Vietnam will organize more nuclear energy exhibitions in 2006 to gain stronger public acceptance of the energy.

Vietnam has yet to select a foreign partner for its nuclear power project. "We will have to import all fuel rods and equipment for the first plant with two reactors, but will strive to locally produce them for following reactors and plants. Potential foreign suppliers are France, the United States, Japan, Russia and Canada, " VAEC director Vuong Huu Tan told Xinhua recently.

Vietnam's sole nuclear reactor has a capacity of 500 kw, and is used for training and research purposes, especially medical ones, Tan said. Located in the central highlands province of Lam Dong, it officially became operational in 1984.

Source: Xinhua

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