Friday, September 14, 2007

Vietnam plans eight nuclear reactors by 2025

Hanoi - Vietnam has plans to build up to eight nuclear reactors by 2025 to meet rising energy demands in the fast-growing country, an official said Friday. The communist-run country also this week agreed with former battlefield enemy the United States to share information on nuclear science. "Vietnam and the US have agreed on nuclear safety exchanges," said Vuong Huu Tan, director of the Nuclear Energy Institute of Vietnam. "This will be part of the framework for the construction and operation of nuclear power plants in the future," he said.

The planned eight nuclear plants would cost some USD $16 billion dollars but would provide 8,000 megawatts of power for Vietnam, Tan said. Vietnam's electricity demand is growing at more than 15 per cent per year and the country's master energy plan calls for shifting from reliance on hydropower to a mix of coal, nuclear and hydropower for electricity.

There have been reports that Vietnam would import nuclear reactors from US company Westinghouse, but Tan said Friday it was not clear where the reactors would come from. The country's first nuclear power plant, a 2,000-MW generator, is slated to be put into operation by 2017. Vietnam, a signatory to the UN Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, has opened its nuclear programme up to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).