Work on Vietnam’s first nuclear power plant will not begin at the end of this year as originally planned, Deputy Trade Minister Cao Quoc Hung said Thursday.
Construction was pushed back until 2020 or 2022 to ensure the highest safety precautions, Hung said at a meeting of the Science, Technology, and Environmental Committee of the National Assembly –Vietnam’s legislative body.
The first four-reactor plant, which will be built in the south-central province of Ninh Thuan over the course of six years by Russian utility and energy company Rosatom.
Once completed, it is expected to have an annual capacity of around 1,000 megawatts.
A model of a nuclear power plant. Photo credit: Vietnam News Agency
Dogged by an energy crunch, Vietnam also plans to build seven other nuclear plants by 2030.
The country hopes to produce 15,000 megawatts or 10 percent of total generating capacity, through nuclear power by 2030, Reuters quoted a unnamed senior official from the Vietnam Atomic Energy Commission as saying early this year.
Vietnam’s power grid currently relies on cheap hydroelectricity and domestic coal, which are both leveling off.
The country will shift toward imported coal and gas, and on foreign and private investment in new power plants.
Vietnam's total collective output is set to hit 75,000 megawatts in 2020, of which coal will account for 48 percent, hydropower 25.5 percent, gas 16.5 percent, renewable energy 5.6 percent, nuclear power 1.3 percent and imported power 3.1 percent.
As such, delaying nuclear power development won't have a significant impact on the country's overall power supply in 2020, experts say.