Vietnam Delays Nuclear Power Plant Construction

Vietnam won’t begin work on its first of eight planned nuclear power plants until at least 2020 or 2022 to ensure safety, the country’s Trade Ministry announced in September.

Russia’s state-owned nuclear company Rosatom was expected to begin construction of the first two-reactor plant in the south-central province of Ninh Thuan at the end of this year (Figure 6).

6. Nuclear newcomer. Russia’s Rosatom will build Vietnam’s Ninh Thuan-1 nuclear power plant (model shown here), which will feature two water-cooled, water-moderated reactors of the VVER type with a capacity of 1,000 MW to 1,200 MW each. Russia’s Atomstroyexport is expected to be the general contractor for the project. Courtesy: Rosatom

Vietnam is one of a few nuclear newcomers worldwide (along with Bangladesh, Jordan, and Turkey) whose ambitions to introduce and expand nuclear capacity are expected to come to fruition. Reflecting its rapid economic growth, electricity consumption in the Southeast Asian nation has nearly quadrupled from 22 billion kWh in 2000 to 86 billion kWh in 2010—and demand is expected to more than triple to 330 billion kWh by 2020.

The coal-rich country in 2013 began importing coal for power generation and increased the coal export tax to reduce exports and satisfy domestic energy demand. While it plans to build new hydroelectric plants, it also reportedly hopes to produce 15 GW (or 10% of total generating capacity) through nuclear power by 2030.

—Sonal Patel