Impetus for Japan-Vietnam reactor deal

05 July 2013

Meetings of Japanese and Vietnamese ministers this week saw them reaffirm cooperation in nuclear energy. Vietnam is considering offers from established nuclear countries as it seeks to introduce the technology.

Vu and Motegi, July 2013 (METI) 250x150
Vu Huy Hoang, Vietnamese minister of trade and industry, meets his Japanese counterpart Toshimitsu Motegi (Image: METI)

Representing Japan's Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry (METI), Toshimitsu Motegi spent three days in Vietnam meeting with prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung as well as ministers responsible for science, technology, natural resources and the environment. Nuclear power was among a number of infrastructure areas in which Motegi was working to win orders, the others being seaports, airports and aircraft.

The countries signed an agreement for construction of a nuclear power plant at Vinh Hai in Ninh Thuan province in October 2010 and this plan has remained in play despite the impact of the March 2011 Fukushima accident on the Japanese nuclear sector.

On the Japanese side, the project is pursued by the JINED consortium including METI, nine utilities (led by Chubu, Kansai & Tokyo Electric Power Company) and three manufacturers (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Toshiba and Hitachi). Part of the offer is finance and insurance for up to 85% of the total cost of the Vinh Hai project, which could include four large reactors.

Motegi and Nguyen agreed to "accelerate cooperation to specify the project," which would be a major step towards a contract. A feasibility study has been completed by JINED and is due to be presented in the middle of this month, said the Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology. As part of the package offer, Japan is supporting the ministry in developing a regulatory body and providing training in radiation safety and nuclear law.

Separately, Vietnam is progressing a Russian offer based on a four-unit VVER-1000 plant at Phuoc Dinh, also in Ninh Thuan province. No firm dates for construction have been set for either project and they could progress in parallel, seeing full operation of all units in the late 2020s.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News