Vietnam will receive help in developing a nuclear energy sector from China Guangdong Nuclear Power Company (CGNPC).
The country has studied using nuclear energy since the 1980s but in recent years has progressed steadily with national energy plans which would see 2000 MWe of nuclear capacity constructed from 2014. A feasibility study on this is expected mid-year, although it had previously been slated for 2008.
A statement from CGNPC said Vietnam plans to double the output to 4000 MWe and have some of this begin operation by 2021 - in line with a five-year construction period from 2014. The two have signed a letter of intent to cooperate on Vietnam's first nuclear project.
CGNPC is a leading firm in China's booming nuclear sector. It already owns the Daya Bay and Ling Ao nuclear power plants, while it controls construction work at Ling Ao Phase II, Liaoning, Fuqing, Ningde, and Yangjiang. When complete, those projects will take CGNPC's installed capacity to 20 GWe. Meanwhile, preliminary work for 8 GW more is underway at Taishan, Fangchengang and Hubei.
CGNPC is experienced in pressurized water reactors up to 1000 MWe known as CPR-1000s, the domestic design of which has been developed and localised from the 900 MWe French units at Daya Bay. All the units under construction are of that design, except for the two Areva EPRs set for Taishan.
Other regional nuclear countries are linked to Vietnam's program. A commitment to long-term cooperation was made with South Korea in 2006, while last year a nuclear assistance agreement was signed with Japan.