16 Jan (NucNet): Vietnam might delay construction of its first nuclear power plant to 2020 to ensure “safety and efficiency”, according to the country’s prime minister.
Vietnam had originally planned to start building the VVER-1000 Ninh Thuan-1 nuclear plant in 2014 and begin commercial operation in 2023, with help from Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom.
But prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung has now told officials at state-run oil and gas group Petrovietnam the company will have to ensure a larger supply of gas to cover the nuclear delay.
According to official state media sources, Mr Dung said Petrovietnam must ensure enough gas supply to replace 4,000 megawatts of nuclear power.
Vietnam is planning to build four nuclear units in the southeastern province of Ninh Thuan. The government approved the project in 2009. Agreements have been signed with Russia to build the first two units and with Japan to build the second two.
During a visit to Vietnam earlier this month, International Atomic Energy Agency director-general Yukiya Amano said Vietnam has made progress preparing for construction of its first nuclear plant, but there was much work still to be done.
He said one of his goals in visiting Vietnam was to strengthen cooperation between Vietnam and the IAEA in nuclear development.
In January 2013, an IAEA team visiting Vietnam said the country had made progress in preparing for the construction of its first plant, but said there were “issues” it had to address, without saying what those issues were.
However, the Vietnam Atomic Energy Agency (VAEA) said problems included “difficulties in understanding and applying the IAEA’s recommendations to certain circumstances” and the lack of systematic training for workers in key organisations.
The VAEA also noted that the IAEA’s guides and recommendations are only “general requirements” which do not indicate implementation measures.
In September 2013, the VAEA said feasibility studies and siting approval dossiers for Ninh Thuan-1 and Ninh Thuan-2 were “almost complete”.