Vietnam’s National Assembly, the country’s supreme legislative body, on Tuesday voted to drop plans to build two nuclear power plants in the southern province of Ninh Thuan
due to budget strains.
The parliament in late 2009 granted in-principle approval on building two plants with a combined capacity of 4,000 megawatts at a cost of a more than $10 billion, meeting 3-4% of the country’s total electricity demand.
Russia's Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation was to construct the first nuclear power plant while the second one would be built by a consortium of Japanese firms led by private utility Japan Atomic Power.
“The halt of the plans is absolutely because of economic reasons, not technology,” Minister-Chairman of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung
said at a press meeting after the parliamentary vote.
Russian and Japanese partners are experts in nuclear power. “There’s no worry about their technologies,” he noted.
Vietnam is giving priority to development of other infrastructure projects, including the North-South expressway that may cost $10 billion, the Long Thanh International Airport that will replace the overloaded Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh City, high-speed railway and coastal roads.
These projects will have greater spillover effects on socio-economic development, Minister Dung explained.
Meanwhile, Vietnam will build coal- and LNG-fired power plants with a combined capacity of 6,000MW by 2030, more than enough to fill the gap of the two nuclear power generators that have a designed capacity of 4,000MW.
Although Japanese and Russian said the halt of the projects was regrettable, but it will not affect relations between Vietnam and the two countries, the minister stressed.