Vietnam floats prospect of resuming nuclear power development

HANOI : Vietnam’s industry minister has told the national assembly developing nuclear power is an “inevitable trend” around the world, signalling that authorities may be considering resuming a plan to construct nuclear power plants after the programme was suspended six years ago.

The Southeast Asian country, a regional manufacturing hub, shelved a plan to build its first two nuclear power plants in 2016 following the Fukushima disaster in Japan and due to budget constraints.

“Developing nuclear power is an ongoing inevitable trend in the world,” Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien told the National Assembly on Monday, according to a statement posted on the government’s website.

The proposed nuclear plants, with a combined capacity of 4,000 megawatts, were due to be built by Russia’s Rosatom and Japan Atomic Power Co. in the central province of Ninh Thuan under the earlier plan.

Dien has pledged Vietnam will boost development of renewable energy following a commitment made in November last year to become carbon neutral by 2050, but stressed this week that it still needed a “stable energy source.”

“We can’t develop more coal-fired power plants, while the country’s hydropower potential has been fully tapped,” Dien said.

Vietnam wants to nearly double its total installed power generation capacity to 146,000 megawatts by 2030, according to the latest draft of its master power development plan, which is being further tweaked to take into account its carbon neutrality commitment.

Dien said plans to develop the country’s first nuclear power plants were “suspended, not completely cancelled,” according to the government statement.

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