Lawmakers call for nuclear energy revival, cite zero emissions target

By Anh Minh   May 26, 2022 | 02:00 am PT
Lawmakers call for nuclear energy revival, cite zero emissions target
A man sits behind a model of a Japanese Mitsubishi nuclear reactor at the World Nuclear Power 2012 exhibition in Hanoi, Vietnam, October 26, 2012. Photo by Reuters/Kham
Vietnam needs to study the possibility of restarting its nuclear power projects to achieve the net zero emission target it has committed to reach by 2050, lawmakers say.

Many countries have recognized nuclear power as a clean type of energy with low greenhouse gas emissions after the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), the National Assembly’s Economic Committee says in a report.

Vietnam therefore should consider reviving its plans to develop nuclear energy to ensure energy security and independent economic development, it says.

To make this happen, the Party should approve the move and the government should then consider restarting the Ninh Thuan Nuclear Power Project at an appropriate time.

The National Assembly had shut down Vietnam’s first nuclear power project in 2016, saying the nation could not afford it then.

By that time seven sub-projects had begun implementation with a total investment of over VND2.3 trillion ($99.01 million), and nearly 450 students and engineers were being trained by Russian and Japanese experts.

The original plan was to have two multi-billion-dollar nuclear power plants in the central province of Ninh Thuan.

The National Assembly committee is proposing now that the government should keep clear the land proposed for the plants until a final decision is made, because selecting the right location for nuclear projects is a long and costly process.

The report says that if the Ninh Thuan project is scrapped completely, Vietnam would have a hard time developing this technology in the future and relationships with partner countries would suffer.

Several experts have also called for reviving nuclear energy development plans in Vietnam to meet demands of a growing economy.

"Restarting the nuclear power program by 2030 is the only way to achieve our net-zero carbon commitment by 2050 (as committed at COP26)," former head of the Vietnam Institute of Energy Nguyen Manh Hien said last month.

Tran Chi Thanh, head of Vietnam Atomic Energy Institute, has also said that the nuclear energy program "must restart soon."

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