HA NOI — Viet Nam is seeking more support from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and countries with advanced nuclear power industries to develop the infrastructure for its nuclear power programme.
A fully developed nuclear power infrastructure is considered to play a very important role to any country in ensuring the safe and successful development of a nuclear power programme.
According to the IAEA, nuclear power infrastructure covers all necessary preparations for the implementation of a nuclear power programme from legal framework and nuclear safety to capital and human resources.
Viet Nam started its nuclear power programme while the country still suffered from poor infrastructure, owing to a lack of legal framework and shortage of human and capital resources, said Minister of Science and Technology Nguyen Quan.
Preparations are underway for the construction of the first nuclear power plant in central Ninh Thuan Province, which is scheduled to commence construction in 2014 and expected to become operational after 2020.
Quan said that developing Viet Nam's nuclear power infrastructure was among six key tasks of the State Steering Committee for the Ninh Thuan Nuclear Power Project when it was established in 2010.
He added that the ministry was bolstering assessments of the current condition of the country's nuclear power infrastructure to determine measures for improving it, while stressing that a nuclear power plant would only be built when safety could be ensured absolutely.
According to the IAEA, nuclear power infrastructure will take 10-15 years to develop in three phases, from the Government's commitment to the operation of the first plant.
Viet Nam is currently in phase two, preparing feasible conditions for the construction of its very first plant.
According to IAEA deputy director general Alexander Bychkov, following the Fukushima incident in Japan in March 2011, nuclear development would be suspended in many countries and "unlikely to be reversed".
However, he added that nuclear power would still be considered a reliable and acceptable source of energy to newcomer-countries, adding that the IAEA would prioritise Viet Nam to support the country's development of its nuclear power programme.
Between 2009-11, Viet Nam was funded a total of US$1.14 million to develop its nuclear power infrastructure.
In the next two years, financial support of about $500,000 will focus on developing human resources for the sector.
Under the National Power Development Plan for the period 2011-20 with a vision to 2030, nuclear power is set to generate nearly 1,000MW, accouting for 1.3 per cent of the country's total power output, and 7 per cent after 2020. — VNS