Vietnam reactor to be clear of highly enriched uranium by 2013

TN News

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Vietnam will send all the highly-enriched uranium (HEU) fuel at its reactor in the Central Highlands resort town of Dalat to Russia by May, 2013, the VnExpress newswire quoted a local minister as saying Saturday.

Nguyen Quan, Minister of Science and Technology, made the statement at the signing ceremony of an agreement on the fuel transfer between Vietnam and Russia in Hanoi on Friday.

The agreement was signed between Deputy Minister Le Dinh Tien and Nikolay Spassky, deputy director general of the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom).

Quan said together with previous agreements on building Vietnam's first nuclear power plant and a center for nuclear science and technology, the latest covenant highlighted the countries' cooperation in the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes and security, and their commitment to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Vietnam started transferring HEU fuel in 2007 from the Dalat reactor, which was built by the US in 1963 and later upgraded by the former Soviet Union, to low-enriched uranium (LEU).

In September that year the country shipped back 35 HEU fuel sticks to Russia in exchange for 36 LEU sticks. The program continued in 2010 with the shipment of 66 LEU sticks from Russia.

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Last year the Dalat reactor successfully started operating with the new fuel, VnExpress said.

According to the newswire, the program, which was initiated by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the US and Russia, aims to manage HEU fuel at reactors built by the two countries so that it is not used for non-peaceful purposes.

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