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Gov’t: Nuclear power project to move ahead
By Thuy Trieu - The Saigon Times Daily
Wednesday,  Mar 30, 2011,16:05 (GMT+7)

Gov’t: Nuclear power project to move ahead

NA says no to provisional committee in charge of probing Vinashin case

By Thuy Trieu - The Saigon Times Daily

Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan at the National Assembly session in Hanoi on Tuessday - Photo: TTXVN
HANOI – Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan on Tuessday told the National Assembly that a major project to build the nation’s first two nuclear power plants on the central coast will continue.

He was responding to questions raised by lawmakers over rising concerns about radiation leaks from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan.

The Government has now set up a national bureau comprising leaders of ministries and Ninh Thuan’s government to take charge of the nuclear project, Nhan said.

The Government signed an agreement with Russia last year to construct the first nuclear power plant in Ninh Thuan Province and is in the process of negotiating with that country financing for the Ninh Thuan 1 plant and a research center of nuclear technology.

The Government has also asked ministries to negotiate a cooperation agreement between Vietnam and Japan for financing the Ninh Thuan 2 nuclear plant.

Vietnam Electricity Group (EVN) has set out criteria to choose advisors, explore locations for the two plants and conduct a feasibility study before approaching the International Atomic Energy Agency for advice, especially on the safety of these two facilities, Nhan said.

He said the Japanese Government had approved a grant of two billion yen, about US$25 million, for location and feasibility reports on Ninh Thuan 2. EVN is dealing with Japanese partners to choose a consultant, Nhan said.

Nhan said the Government had asked EVN to map out contingency plans to deal with potential problems and prepare the technical foundation to cope with problems at the basic level in the forthcoming plants. The Ministry of Science and Technology and the government of Ninh Thuan would deal with nuclear problems at provincial and national levels.

Nhan explained the problems at Fukushima 1 happened due to an earthquake and subsequent tsunami, which were natural disasters. 

The Government wants to learn the lessons from the Japanese disaster, though, and will factor in earthquakes, plane crashes, tsunamis and other factors when choosing locations and technology in order to ensure the safety of the nuclear power plants, Nhan said.

NA vice chairman Uong Chu Luu said the NA’s resolution on the nuclear power development project in 2009 required the Government to choose the safest technology and prepare for all scenarios involving environmental impact like climate change or rising sea levels on the sites where the plants are placed.

Before construction, the Government should report to the NA before any decisions are made on the plants.

According to Nhan, Ninh Thuan 1 will start construction in December 2014 and come on stream in 2020, while Ninh Thuan 2 will get off the ground in May 2015 and be operational in 2021.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade will also carry out a national energy development strategy with the aim of avoiding serious power shortages if there are any problems with one of the nation’s power sources.

In another development, Nhan said, the Prime Minister has appointed a Government inspector to find those guilty in the Vinashin scandal, which saw the shipbuilder’s collapse with debt amounting to VND86 trillion.

The inspector has finished his investigation and is currently making a report on the case. After receiving the report, the Government will punish the individuals involved and report to the NA at a later date.

NA vice chairman Uong Chu Luu told the meeting that some members earlier asked to set up a provisional committee to investigate the Vinashin case. However after a meeting last Monday, the NA Standing Committee decided there was no need to establish the provisional committee because the Party and Government have been dealing with this case.

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