Vietnam delays first nuclear power project

January 20, 2014 | 09:54
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Construction on the first nuclear power plant will be delayed for a couple of years instead of the 2014 schedule to ensure optimum safety and security, Science and Technology Minister Nguyen Quan has said.
An overview of the Ninh Thuan 1 simulation

The National Assembly approved a resolution in 2009, allowing the government to build two nuclear power plants in Ninh Thuan province.

Ninh Thuan 1, with a design capacity of 2,000MW, was scheduled to get off the ground in Phuoc Dinh commune, Thuan Nam district, in 2014.

However, Minister Quan told the first project will be postponed for at least two to three years and the government will submit a report to the National Assembly.

Consortium of Russian and Ukrainian consultants E4-KIEP-EPT has already selected a construction site for Ninh Thuan 1, and it is currently working on an appraisal dossier and investment projects for submission to the government.

After the 2011 Fukushima incident, the government asked consultants to supplement earthquake resistant solutions and adjust the location of the plant, thus resulting in longer preparations than initially expected.

Quan said Vietnam is due to evaluate the feasibility study, locate the site and select technology for the plant late this year. After the feasibility study is approved, a contract will be signed to draw up a technical design – a process which can take designers at least 18 months to complete and Vietnam eight more months to evaluate.

The investor will then negotiate and sign an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) deal with a consortium of contractors responsible for a safety analysis report and construction license which could take up to 15 months.

Consequently, the first generator of Ninh Thuan 1 plant is expected to generate power in 2025, five years behind target.

The delay, according to atomic experts, will enable Vietnam to have more time for preparation, including human resource training.

During a Hanoi visit early this year, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Director Yukiya Amano said it takes a country 10-15 years to build a nuclear power plant. Careful, conscientious preparation is more critical than time.

A Ministry of Industry and Trade report indicates Vietnam and Russia reached an agreement on measures to shorten the construction time of the plant.

In late 2011 Russia agreed to provide credits for the project under a governmental-level agreement with Vietnam.

In a Vietnam-Russia inter-governmental committee meeting a year later, both sides examined preparations and agreed to assign relevant agencies to work on the project’ progress.

While visiting Ninh Thuan in December 2013, Russian ambassador to Vietnam Andrey Kovtun affirmed his government’s willingness to provide assistance to the project.

He revealed Russia will organise a fact-finding tour of a Russian nuclear plant in Voronhez for Vietnamese officials and experts in 2014.

Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom has collaborated with Vietnam to build the first nuclear power plant in the country.


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