INDIA - VIETNAM NUCLEAR
WNN - India and Vietnam have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to strengthen their cooperation in nuclear energy. The agreement was one of three MoUs signed during Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang's visit to India.
The MoU was signed on 3 March in New Delhi by Sekhar Basu, secretary of India's Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), and Dang Dinh Quy, Vietnam's deputy minister of foreign affairs. The signing was witnessed by Quang and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"The purpose of the MoU is to strengthen the technical cooperation in the field of atomic energy for peaceful purposes," the Indian Prime Minister's office said in a statement.
The MoU calls for cooperation between the DAE's Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership (GCNEP) and the Vietnam Atomic Energy Institute (VinAtom).
The GCNEP is a nuclear research and training centre under construction near New Delhi. The Indian government approved the establishment of the GCNEP in 2010, and construction began on the facility in January 2014. The centre is to house five schools to conduct research into advanced nuclear energy systems, nuclear security, radiological safety, nuclear material characterisation and applications for radioisotopes and radiation technologies. Training facilities are to include virtual reality laboratories and a radiation monitoring, calibration and accreditation laboratory.
VinAtom is a research and development institution under the Ministry of Science and Technology. Formed in 1976, its functions are to conduct fundamental and applied research on nuclear science and engineering, nuclear reactor technology, nuclear fuel and material, radiation protection and nuclear safety, and radioactive waste management technology.
During his visit, Quang also thanked India for extending support to Vietnam in building a research reactor for the peaceful uses of atomic energy.
Vietnam's nuclear plans
In February 2006 the Vietnamese government announced that a 2000 MWe nuclear power plant should be on line by 2020. This general target was confirmed in a nuclear power development plan approved by the government in August 2007, with the target being raised to a total of 8000 MWe nuclear by 2025. A general law on nuclear energy was passed in mid-2008, and a comprehensive legal and regulatory framework is being developed.
Since October 2008, two reactors totalling 2000 MWe had been planned at Phuoc Dinh in the southern Ninh Thuan province. A further 2000 MWe was planned at Vinh Hai nearby, followed by a further 6000 MWe by 2030.
However, in November 2016, Vietnam's legislature endorsed the government's decision to abandon plans to build the country's first two nuclear power plants in favour of renewable energy and power imports amid lower crude oil and coal prices.
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