August, 03 2012 09:39:14

Officials say nuclear plant will be safest

HA NOI — Viet Nam will rely on the latest advances in technology to ensure that its first nuclear power plant meets the highest possible safety standards, said deputy minister of Science and Technology Le Dinh Tien at a conference to improve communication about nuclear power yesterday.

The plant, which is currently being built in central Ninh Thuan Province, will be hundreds of times safer than the world's first reactors, which were built in the 1950s.

In 1996, the country started to prepare for the plant's development. The project was approved three years ago.

So far, Viet Nam has issued about 80 official documents covering nuclear power regulations and safety standards.

"Viet Nam is improving its legal framework relating to nuclear safety and security and boosting our capacity to develop in this field," he said.

Notably, in 2010, the Government approved VND3 trillion (US$143 million) for a project to develop human resources in the nuclear sector.

Deputy head of Nuclear Energy Department Hoang Anh Tuan said that high quality human resources would be a decisive factor in the success of nuclear power development.

The country's significant investment in technology and staff training demonstrates Viet Nam's consistent commitment to developing nuclear power, he said.

According to the World Nuclear Association, after the Fukushima accident, some countries such as Germany and Belgium announced they would give up nuclear power, while other countries including South Korea, Iran, and Belarus continued to rely on the energy source.

Deputy minister Tien said that with the country's increasing power demand, nuclear power is indispensable. While other clean sources of energy like wind and solar power have huge potential, they cannot yet provide enough energy for the whole country.

About 30 countries and territories worldwide have nuclear power plants with 433 nuclear reactors, making up 17 per cent of total world power supply. This helps ensure the world's energy security, he said.

According to the Master Plan for National Power Development, which covers the 2011-20 period with a vision to 2030 and has been approved by the Prime Minister, the first two units in Ninh Thuan will be put into operation in 2020 and are expected to generate 2,000 MW per year. By 2050, Viet Nam hopes to generate enough nuclear power to account for 20-25 per cent of its energy consumption. — VNS

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