Vietnam likely to consider nuclear power development
The Economic Committee of the National Assembly (NA) has recently proposed developing nuclear power over the next decades to ensure national energy security and meet the ‘net zero’ goal Vietnam set at the 26th UN Conference on Climate Change (COP26).
Nuclear power proposal
Vietnam put the Ninh Thuan 1 & 2 nuclear power plant projects on hold under a NA resolution in 2016 for safety reasons and in order to mobilise resources for other key projects.
In a report overseeing the implementation of the resolution, the Economic Committee of the National Assembly suggested that Vietnam consider developing nuclear power over the coming decades, and the Ninh Thuan projects should be reactivated at an appropriate time.
It reasoned that nuclear power is a low-carbon source of electricity that will make an important contribution to mitigating climate change. In addition, some power sources such as hydroelectricity, coal power, gas power, and solar power have yet to be developed sustainably, whilst they themselves incur the risk of negatively impacting the environment.
The development of nuclear power moving into the next phase will therefore contribute to ensuring national energy security, developing an independent and self-reliant economy, as well as guaranteeing the security of the power system through a diverse range of generation sources, the committee said.
To develop energy power domestically, the current state and forecast of energy supply and demand should be fully, scientifically, and accurately assessed, it added.
In a bid to prepare for this process, the committee requested that the Government consider temporarily suspending the planning for the proposed locations of Ninh Thuan 1 and 2 nuclear power plants until an official decision is made.
If cancelled, these projects will affect the ability to develop nuclear power in the future, as well as relations with partner countries, it said.
NA deputies in agreement
The future development of nuclear power has received the support of a number of deputies attending the ongoing session of the National Assembly in Hanoi.
Deputy Ha Sy Dong of Quang Tri province agreed with the NA Economic Committee’s proposal, stating it is both feasible and suitable to national development trends.
“It is feasible because our high economic growth requires high demand for electricity, while we are highly capable of applying scientific and technical advances, and acquiring international experiences in investing in nuclear power,” Dong told Lao Dong (Labour) newspaper.
Furthermore, Deputy Nguyen Lam Thanh of Lang Son province shared the view that ensuring a national energy security should be the priority to fully meeting the country’s development requirements.
He suggested that Vietnam maintain its available energy sources, such as hydroelectricity and thermal power, alongside renewable energy sources in the immediate future, whilst also considering developing nuclear power over the long term.
Echoing Thanh’s view, deputy Pham Van Hoa of Dong Thap province said the country should not develop nuclear power at the present, but should instead weigh up the possibility over the long term amidst an increasing risk of power shortages in the future. He noted that safety and technology must be the highest priority when developing this type of energy.
The issue of restarting Ninh Thuan 1 & 2 nuclear power plant projects has been raised by experts and scientists at a number of recent energy forums. Experts and scientists maintained that in the event that nuclear power is developed after 2030, Vietnam will likely realise the ‘net zero’ goal by 2050 as committed by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh at COP26.
PM Chinh told media on the sidelines of the ongoing legislative session on May 27 that nuclear power development is an issue which should be examined carefully and the Government will await the next decision from the Politburo and the Party Central Committee moving forward.