Thursday, November 10, 2016

Vietnam cancels nuclear power plant project

The Vietnamese National Assembly has approved to cancel the Ninh Thuan Nuclear Power Plant project after fears of rising public debts and the environmental risks after the Formosa case.
In an interview with DTiNews on the sidelines of a NA meeting on Thursday, Le Hong Tinh, Vice Chairman of the National Assembly Committee for Science, Technology and Environment, said that the project’s cost had ballooned to VND400 trillion (USD19 billion), nearly double the initial figure, affecting its feasibility. With this level of initial investment, the electricity price would have only been 4 cents-4.5 cents/kwh, but this would increase to  8 cents/kmh based on the new investment level.
Le Hong Tinh, Vice Chairman of the National Assembly Committee for Science, Technology and Environment
Vietnam has spent trillions of VND on the project so far, however, if continuing the project will add more pressure to the high public debt, Tinh said.
Previously, Vietnam’s economic growth was estimated at 7.5-10%/year, which would have implied larger electricity demand in the context of the limited output of hydropower and thermal power. However, the current economic growth is around 6% per year.
Modern technology has also helped save power usage and Vietnam can ensure the electricity supply by 2021.
Meanwhile, environmental problems are very important, particularly after the recent mass fish death caused by Formosa’s toxic discharge. “Nuclear waste always poses environmental threats, even for developed countries which boast good technology for this waste treatment,” he said.
The location where Ninh Thuan Nuclear Power Plant project was planned to be built on in Ninh Thuan Province
Some countries which even imported machines and equipment for their nuclear power plants, but later they also had to stop the plants, including South Africa and Germany.
According to Tinh, human resources trained for the Ninh Thuan nuclear power plant can be used for other power plants in Vietnam.
“Vietnam is behind many countries in nuclear power development, so it is impossible for us to avoid the problems. However, this is a big lesson for us in energy development planning and forecast," he noted.
Talking with the media about the government's proposal to cancel the project on Wednesday, Chairman of the Electricity of Vietnam, Duong Quang Thanh, explained that the price of nuclear power at present was much more expensive than that of other sources such as coal or oil so a nuclear power plant would not be able to compete with other options.
Thanh also said that the power growth rate in a recent survey is much lower than when done in 2009 when the project was proposed.
No nuclear power plant has been included the new power plan which runs until 2030 which has just been approved by the prime minister, Thanh confirmed.
The project was approved late 2009 and scheduled to be kicked off in 2014 with the technical assistance from Russia. However, following the nuclear disaster in Japan’s Fukushima in 2011, the Vietnamese government ordered relevant agencies to review safety measures and last year announced that it would delay work on the first plant until 2020. - dtnews


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