Viet­nam scraps huge nu­clear power projects

The Myanmar Times - - International Business -

POWER-HUN­GRY Viet­nam has scrapped plans for two multi-bil­lion -dol­lar nu­clear power plants cit­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal and fi­nan­cial rea­sons af­ter the cost sky­rock­eted.

The two plants in cen­tral Ninh Thuan prov­ince would have had a com­bined ca­pac­ity of 4000 megawatts and were to be de­vel­oped with as­sis­tance from Rus­sian state com­pany Rosatom and the Ja­panese con­sor­tium JINED.

The cost of the nu­clear power plants, slated to be the first in South­east Asia, dou­bled since they were first tabled in 2009 to an es­ti­mated US$18 bil­lion, of­fi­cials said ear­lier.

The govern­ment said costs mush­roomed as de­vel­op­ers sought more ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy fol­low­ing Ja­pan’s Fukushima dis­as­ter in 2011.

“The project was sus­pended not due to tech­no­log­i­cal rea­sons, but the coun­try’s cur­rent eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion,” the govern­ment said on its web­site.

Viet­nam is grap­pling with a mount­ing bud­get deficit and has said it is likely to fall short of its am­bi­tious growth tar­get of 6.7 per­cent this year.

The govern­ment said it would spend money on other in­fra­struc­ture projects in­stead and ad­dress cli­mate change is­sues.

Though nu­clear power does not pro­duce harm­ful carbon emis­sions, en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists have raised con­cerns about nu­clear waste stor­age.

Rapidly in­dus­tri­al­is­ing Viet­nam, with its pop­u­la­tion of 93 mil­lion, has faced power short­ages in re­cent years and turned to neigh­bour­ing coun­tries like Laos to boost its en­ergy re­serves.

The govern­ment said scrap­ping the huge nu­clear projects would not af­fect much-needed power sup­plies.

The com­mu­nist coun­try re­lies mostly on coal and hy­dropower, but has said it wants to in­crease re­new­able en­ergy pro­duc­tion in the next 15 years. –

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