Nuclear power plant still on schedule


Vietnam’s first-ever nuclear power plant, Ninh Thuan 1 in the south-central province of Ninh Thuan, remains on track for being built and beginning operations by 2028.

In response to comments from the plant’s foreign partner about a possible delay, Mr. Hoang Anh Tuan, Director General of the Vietnam Atomic Energy Agency at the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), confirmed that no official decision has been made on delaying the project.

“The schedule is still set for 2028,” Mr. Tuan told VET, with construction to begin in 2022 or 2023.

It often takes five or six years to build a nuclear power plant turbine, he added, and the government must seek National Assembly approval on commencement once all preparatory works are completed.

The foreign partner, Russia’s State Nuclear Energy Corporation (Rosatom), suggested some days ago that the schedule may be delayed.

“We were initially working towards a construction date of 2022 or 2023 but we have heard that this is likely to be delayed until 2027 or 2028,” local media quoted Mr. K.B. Komarov, Deputy General Director of Rosatom, as saying on July 3.

Though no official statement has come from the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), the Master Plan VII on National Power Network Development, released in March this year, states that “the first turbine for Vietnam’s nuclear power plant will be put into operation in 2028.”

Rosatom has developed 42 nuclear turbines with a further eight now under construction in Russia, together with 34 nuclear turbines/reactors being developed in 13 other countries.

As at the end of 2015 its investment portfolio was reported to total $110 billion and is estimated to increase 20-25 per cent by the end of this year.

In 2010 it signed an inter-governmental agreement with MoST on the construction of the nuclear power plant.

“As far as we know, the draft feasibility study has been completed and submitted to the government for consideration,” Mr. Komarov said on July 3, adding that he came to Vietnam in mid May to meet MoST on the issue.

The government on July 6 established an Inter-Ministerial Evaluation Council chaired by Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung to supervise the project building the Nuclear Science and Technology Center, which is being developed by MoST.

The nuclear power plant is expected to have a capacity of 4,600 MW with output of 32.5 billion kWh by 2030, accounting for 5.7 per cent of the country’s total power output, according to Master Plan VII.

October 2010: Vietnam and Russia sign a cooperation agreement on the construction of a nuclear power plant with two units.

November 2011: An agreement on building the Center for Nuclear Energy Science and Technology (CNEST) is signed.

March 2012: A further cooperation agreement on transferring nuclear fuel waste from the research nuclear reactor to Russia is signed.

August 2015: Atomstroyexport – NIAEP from Russia and Electricity of Vietnam sign a framework agreement on the first stage of construction of the Ninh Thuan 1 nuclear power plant.

September 2015: Documents regarding location approval and the feasibility study for Ninh Thuan 1 are submitted to the government by EVN.

March 2016: Changes to Master Plan VII are passed by the government, with the first turbines at Ninh Thuan 1 to be put into operation in 2028.