Russian assistance on three continents

23 August 2013

Russia is funding a new technology centre in Vietnam and cooperating with an Argentine university, helping develop the skills needed for nuclear programs in those countries. Meanwhile, Rosatom claims more than 15,000 jobs could be created if South Africa proceeds with its nuclear energy expansion plans.

Russia and Vietnam signed an agreement in November 2011 covering the construction of such a centre in Vietnam. Under the terms of that agreement, the Russian government will provide loans worth $500 million for the centre's construction.

Feasibility studies and site selection are underway, according to director of the Vietnam Atomic Energy Institute (VinAtom) Tran Chi Thanh. "Work on the project will probably begin in late 2015, under favourable conditions, and we have proposed building it in the Central Highlands city of Da Lat," he told the Tuoi Tre newspaper. Once operational, the new centre will be used for conducting scientific research and developing technologies to support Vietnam's planned nuclear power program. A research reactor at the new centre will be used for training programs as well as the production of medical isotopes.

Vietnam's plans for nuclear power are well advanced. The country's Atomic Energy Law came into force in 2009 and intergovernmental agreements in place with Russia and Japan allow for the construction of its first two nuclear power plants, both in Ninh Thuan province. Construction work has yet to begin, although the first Russian-designed unit at Ninh Thuan I is pencilled in to begin operation by the end of 2020.

Argentina assistance

A memorandum of cooperation on cooperation in nuclear education has been signed between the University of Buenos Aires and Rusatom Overseas - the subsidiary of Russia's Rosatom state nuclear corporation concerned with exports of nuclear power plants. Under the agreement, the parties intend to develop cooperation programs, which may include scientific research, the exchange of experts, joint seminars and training manuals. They agreed to set up a working group to develop specific projects.

Russia and Argentina have signed many cooperation agreements in recent years, including one in 2010 which expresses Russian willingness to partner Argentina in designing and building plants in Argentina based on Russian VVER pressurized water reactors. In 2011, the two countries signed a memorandum on cooperation in the peaceful use of atomic energy that recognises Rosatom as a possible supplier for a fourth Argentinian nuclear power plant.

South African localization

Rosatom is ready to help South Africa with its plans to construct six nuclear power reactors, executive vice-president of Rusatom Overseas Boris Arseev announced last week.

Speaking at the annual conference of the Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa (NIASA) in Port Elizabeth, he claimed, "The implementation of the South African nuclear generation development program together with Rosatom would create 15,000 additional jobs in construction, service and operation of the new units, as well as several thousand jobs in related industries."

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News