Lightbridge to support Vietnam regulator

14 August 2014

Lightbridge Corp has become the first US company to work with the Vietnam Agency for Radiation and Nuclear Safety (VARANS) following their signing of a memorandum of understanding to develop the administrative, legal and regulatory infrastructure required to support Vietnam's nuclear power program.

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Lightbridge and VARANS officials sign MoU (Image: VARANS)

Citing US Department of Commerce estimates, Lightbridge said in a statement to announce the MoU on 13 August that commercial nuclear energy opportunities in Vietnam are estimated at $10 billion and are expected to grow to $50 billion by 2030.

Vietnam plans to have two Russian reactors totalling 2000 MWe at Phuoc Dinh in the southern Ninh Thuan province by 2020, followed by another 2000 MWe using Japanese technology at Vinh Hai in the same province. These plants would be followed by a further 6000 MWe by 2030.

Seth Grae, Lightbridge president and CEO said the MoU provides a framework for the company's advisory service team to support VARANS under specific tasks as it seeks to implement best practices in nuclear regulation, licensing, inspection, and education and training activities. Lightbridge has generated more than $52 million in advisory services revenue since 2008, he said.

Grae was part of a civil nuclear trade policy mission to Vietnam and China in May 2013 that was organized by the US Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration. He is also a member of the department's Civil Nuclear Trade Advisory Committee, which advises the secretary of commerce on how to expand US civil nuclear exports and strengthen the industry's competitiveness.

The US Senate last week passed a resolution for a 123 agreement on nuclear cooperation that does not call upon Vietnam to forswear its right to develop technologies for the enrichment of uranium and reprocessing of used fuel but would impose a 30-year limit on its term. The agreement is expected to enter into force in September.

Tyson's Corner, Virginia-based Lightbridge provides advisory services in several countries for established and emerging nuclear programs. The company is also developing "patent-protected, proliferation resistant, next generation nuclear fuel technologies for current and future nuclear reactor systems."

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News