Russia has signed an intergovernmental agreement with Vietnam for the construction of the first nuclear power plant in the Southeast Asian country. Construction of the Ninh Thuan 1 plant is scheduled to start in 2014.
The agreement was signed on 31 October in Hanoi by Sergey Kiriyenko, director general of Russian state nuclear energy company Rosatom, and Vu Huy Hoang, Vietnam’s minister of trade and industry. It was signed in the presence of Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
The agreement calls for the construction by Rosatom subsidiary AtomStroyExport (ASE) of the Ninh Thuan 1 nuclear power plant at Phuoc Dinh in the southern Ninh Thuan province, as a turnkey project. The plant will comprise two 1200 MWe VVER pressurised water reactors. It will be owned and operated by state-owned Electricity of Vietnam (EVN).
Russia is to guarantee a loan for the construction, although the terms of the loan have not yet been agreed. In line with its agreements with Iran and Turkey, Russia will supply nuclear fuel for the new Vietnamese reactors, as well as removing used fuel for reprocessing.
A pre-feasibility study for 2000 MWe of nuclear generating capacity in Ninh Thuan province was carried out by the Ministry of Industry and Trade. This was approved by the National Assembly in November 2009. A comprehensive feasibility study on the project will be undertaken by 2012.
Construction of the Ninh Thuan 1 plant is expected to begin in 2014, with the first reactor scheduled to be commissioned by 2020. The second unit is set to begin operating in 2021. Kiriyenko said that a 2020 timeframe for the plant was "absolutely realistic."
"After the two blocks are built successfully we'll start negotiations on building two more blocks on this site and on new sites," Kiriyenko was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.
By 2030, Vietnam wants to construct a further 12 power reactors. Two further units are planned at Phuoc Dinh, with operation scheduled for 2023 and 2024, respectively. Four reactors are also planned for Vinh Hai in the Ninh Hai district. The first two are slated to begin operating in 2021 and 2022, with the second pair starting up in 2024 and 2025. A further two units are planned at Vinh Hai in the north-central Ha Tinh province, and then a further six units are envisaged by 2030.
On 30 October, the day before the agreement was signed between Russia and Vietnam, ASE announced that it had opened an office in Hanoi.
At that time, ASE said, "The Ninh Thuan 1 plant will become the first nuclear power station not only in Vietnam but also in South-East Asia." It added, "Successful implementation of the project will significantly increase the competitive advantages and export opportunities for Russia's nuclear industry in this region."
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News