Vietnam plans ambitious nuclear program

24 June 2010

Vietnam has announced a masterplan for the introduction of nuclear energy into the country. Some 14 nuclear power reactors are to be constructed at eight locations in five central provinces by 2030. 


According to the plan, recently approved by Vietnamese prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung, the country will introduce nuclear energy through a three-phase program.


In the initial phase, between now and 2015, Vietnam will approve investment and locations, select contractors and train managers and technicians.


In the second phase, between 2015 and 2020, the country will finalize construction and put into operation the first 1000 MWe reactor at Phuoc Dinh in the southern Ninh Thuan province.


During the third phase, between 2020 and 2030, Vietnam wants to construct a further 13 power reactors. A second 1000 MWe unit at the Phuoc Dinh site will begin operating in 2012. Two further 1000 MWe units are planned there, with operation scheduled for 2023 and 2024 respectively.


Four 1000 MWe 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.


According to the plan, the country should therefore have some 8000 MWe of nuclear generating capacity in place by 2025.


In addition to Ninh Thuan, other sites for nuclear power plants have been identified in the provinces of Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, Ha Tinh and Quang Ngai.


Two further 1000 MWe units are planned to begin operating in 2026. Over each of the following four years, one reactor of 1300 to 1500 MWe capacity is expected to be brought online. This would bring the country's nuclear capacity to between 15,000 and 16,000 MWe by 2030, when nuclear will account for around 10% of Vietnam's total electricity production.


In addition to building imported reactors, Vietnam aims to master nuclear power plant design technology during the final phase of the program. The country wants to partner with foreign companies to design its nuclear power plants with Vietnamese companies participating in nuclear power projects to account for 30-40% of the total construction value.


The Vietnamese government approved a nuclear power development plan in 2007, aiming for a 2000 MWe nuclear power plant to be online by 2020, and a general law on nuclear energy was passed in mid 2008. Since then work has been under way to develop the necessary legal and regulatory framework. In November 2009, the country's National Assembly approved a resolution on investment policy for the project.


Companies including Westinghouse, AtomStroyExport, Electricité de France, and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group (CGNPC) have all been involved in discussions about supplying nuclear plants to Vietnam, and South Korea has also expressed an interest in the project. Vietnam has signed nuclear cooperation and assistance agreements with countries including Japan, France, China, South Korea, the USA and Canada.


Researched and written

by World Nuclear New