Nuclear power project to be submitted to NA in April

Published: 23/02/2009 05:00



Mr. Vuong Huu Tan.

VietNamNet Bridge – The first nuclear power plant project in Vietnam will be kicked off in 2015 and will become operational in 2020. Director of the Vietnam Nuclear Energy Institute Vuong Huu Tan talks more about the project.

Vietnam is taking the first steps to build its first nuclear power plant. Why is the country aiming at nuclear power and what will be the scale of the first plant?

The need for power is on the rise. Vietnam’s local sources of power like hydropower and thermopower are limited. Purchasing power from neighboring countries can’t help ensure power security so Vietnam has to seek other solutions and that is nuclear power.

The most favourable condition for this project is the support from the highest-ranking officials. The government proposed building the first nuclear power plant with a capacity of 4,000 MW in Phuoc Dinh and Vinh Hai, in the southern province of Ninh Thuan. The first turbine will begin operating in 2020.

What is the biggest difficulty for the construction of nuclear power plants?

There are many difficulties, such as human resources, finance, infrastructure and others. All of the problems are being researched and resolved.

We need around 200-250 staffs to run a nuclear power turbine. We can choose employees from thermo-power plants and research institutes for training. We still have over 10 years for human resource training. The government has assigned the Ministry of Education and Training to work out a scheme to develop human resources for the nuclear power industry. This scheme will be submitted to the government early this year.

Technology is one of the most important factors in the safety of a plant. Which technology will we choose?

Experts now favour light water nuclear pie. They are working on specific criteria to choose suitable technology. In our investment report, we identify ten criteria for technology.

We have researched technology of many partners and Westinghouse (US) is a potential partner because this company has provided source technology for many countries, such as France, Japan. However, we will have to research many other factors.

The government will have to submit to the National Assembly an investment report on the first nuclear power plant this April. How is the evaluation going and when will we choose a partner?

The illustration of a nuclear power plant using Westinghouse’s AP 1000 technology.

The second session of the state evaluation council took place on February 15. There are two independent consulting and evaluation agencies, the Vietnam Nuclear Power Association and the Energy Science and Technology Institute. Two special working groups on the nuclear power plant and the place for building this plant have been set up already.

These agencies are working urgently to prepare for the second general meeting on March 15. The state evaluation council will listen to reports from specialised working groups and consulting agencies to make a decision and submit the investment report to the National Assembly this April.

If the National Assembly approves the report, the government will immediately ask competent agencies to make investment projects and choose partners.

It is scheduled that the first turbine of the nuclear power plant will start running in 2020. How is the construction proceeding?

If the investment report is approved by the National Assembly this May, we will make the investment project. This process may take two years. After that we will seek international tenders or choose contractors to ensure that the construction will start in 2015. The government plans to put the first turbine into operation in 2020 and we will adhere to this plan.

What have we learnt from other countries in implementing this project?

We will follow the “turn-key” principle but it doesn’t mean that we will leave everything to foreign partners. Local companies have to do as much as they can in the project. For example, in the first sub-projects, South Korea will do simple works, which account for around 20% of the funds.

South Korea is a good example for Vietnam in developing nuclear power. After opening its first nuclear power plant in 1987, it became a provider of nuclear power plants in 1995.

The first nuclear power plant in Vietnam with a capacity of 4,000 MW will be built in two sites in Ninh Thuan province, Phuoc Dinh commune in Ninh Phuoc district and Vinh Hai commune in Ninh Hai district. Each place will host a turbine of 2,000 MW.


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