1st Published Wednesday, November 05, 2008
A 1,100 megawatt (MWe) reactor of the size preferred by Vietnam. Pictured is the inside of an ATMEA1, built be French company AREVA.
Intentions to build nuclear power reactors have been announced by Southeast Asian countries for decades. Indonesia has probably been the most vocal. The latest announcement yesterday from Vietnam may well be the most concrete to date.
UPI.com November 4, 2008 reports as follows:
"Vietnam to build new nuclear plants
HANOI, Vietnam, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Vietnam's Ministry of Industry and Trade announced plans to build two nuclear power plants.
The two plants will be built in the southeastern province of Ninh Thuan and are expected to be operational sometime between 2020 and 2022, the Voice of Vietnam reported.
The announcement was made in Hanoi at an international forum on nuclear power.
Vietnam has resolved to focus on nuclear power in the face of diminishing oil reserves and increasing concern over emissions and global climate change.
An official from the International Atomic Energy Agency, Thomas Mazour, said Vietnam is in fact ready for nuclear power.
To generate nuclear power by 2020, construction will have to begin by 2015. It also usually takes between 10 and 15 years to choose and train staff, so Vietnamese leaders said work must begin right away."
Greater detail is at the Electric Light & Power website
Vietnam's announcement may well stiffen the resolve of neighbours to also build power reactors. Regional rivalry on the military, commercial and national prestige plane might exist with Thailand in particular - then Burma and Indonesia.
If Vietnam sees the reactors as a pathway to a nuclear weapons capability then the need may be in terms of self defence against China which has periodically attacked Vietnam over the centuries.
An early bet is that French nuclear company, AREVA, will win the contract to build reactors in Vietnam. France, under Sarkozy, has embarked on an aggressive reactor export drive. Vietnam has commercial links with France that have continued since colonial days. Lastly AREVA is already building reactors in Vietnam's region (in China).