Vietnam's nuclear industry still on track despite Japan questions
Vietnam has announced a new course on nuclear power, emphasizing it is not abandoning its civil nuclear plans, in spite of the Fukushima disaster.
Released in the Saigon Daily, described as an organ of the communist party of Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh, the paper pointed to the importance of human resource development agreed in a meeting last October between the prime ministers from Vietnam and Japan.
That saw the first order for the International Nuclear Energy Development of Japan Co, a public-private venture established in 2010 to help export Japan's nuclear technology. Located in Ninh Thuan province it is scheduled to start commercial operations by 2021.
In the last few weeks, however, reports have emerged that the Japan's government was considering withdrawing from nuclear cooperation agreements following Prime Minister Naoto Kan's call for Japan's eventual exit from atomic power. Nothing official has been released as to how this affects Vietnam.
Following the Japan's nuclear scare, Vietnam said it intended to continue with its own nuclear program. The Financial Times quoted Nguyen Phuong Nga, spokeswoman for Vietnam's foreign ministry, as saying in March that nuclear safety was a top priority and was "particularly important in the context of climate change and natural disasters, particularly the earthquake and tsunami in Japan". While the country is generally considered out of the earthquake and tsunami danger zones it has the distinction of being exposed to rising sea-levels.
Vietnam has already signed its first deal for a nuclear power plant with Russian company, Rosatom subsidiary AtomStroyExport (ASE). Also based in the Ninh Thuan province at Phuoc Dinh, the plant will have two 1200 MW VVER pressurised water reactors and should be online by 2012.