Vietnam scraps plan to build nuclear power plants
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Vietnam scraps plan to build nuclear power plants

VIETNAM has decided to cancel plans to build the country’s first two nuclear power plants, citing slowing demand for electricity and the declining price of other sources of energy.

The state-controlled Tuoi Tre newspaper said the lawmaking National Assembly will ratify the government decision later this month.

The newspaper quoted the head of the state-run Electricity of Vietnam Group, which was to pay for the plants, as saying they are not economically viable because of other cheaper sources of power.

The group’s chairman Duong Quang Thanh told Vietnamnet that the country is not expected to face a power shortage in the near future. The cancellation of the Ninh Thuan Nuclear Power Plant, he said, was done because the facility could face difficulties competing with other power sources.

He said the government will propose the scrapping of the plan at the National Assembly on Nov 10.

Thanh said the country’s new power plan, which had been approved by the prime minister, did not include any nuclear plant.

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He added coal and oil energy sources were cheaper than nuclear power therefore the latter a less feasible energy option.

The country’s power growth rate, he said, was much lower than what was estimated in 2009 during the proposal phases of the nuclear plant project.

“The latest survey predicted that power growth rate will be at 11% in the 2016-2020 period and fall to 7-8% in the 2021-2030 period. So there will be no power shortage in the country in the near future,” he was quoted as saying.

In 2009, the assembly approved the construction of two nuclear power plants with a combined capacity of 4,000 megawatts. The plants had an estimated to have cost $10 billion and would have supplied electricity to three to four percent of the country’s power grid.

Due to technical issues, the construction of the first plant, which received technical assistance from a Russian nuclear firm, was called off in 2014. The government had also roped in a Japanese consortium to help build the second plant.

The nuclear disaster from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant, however, prompted the Vietnamese government to conduct a thorough review on safety measures. Last year, Vietnam decided to delay the construction of the plant until 2020.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press