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Vietnam planning to crank up Russian-subsidized nuclear study center by 2025

By Vi Vu   September 5, 2017 | 12:20 am PT
Vietnam planning to crank up Russian-subsidized nuclear study center by 2025
Vietnam's only nuclear reactor in Da Lat. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Tran
The $500 million project has been revealed less than a year after the country scrapped plans for two nuclear power plants due to economic reasons.

Vietnam is planning to develop a nuclear science and technology center using a $500 million loan from Russia over the next seven years.

Tran Chi Thanh, director of the Vietnam Atomic Energy Institute, said the center will help increase Vietnam’s expertise and ability to operate nuclear power plants, local media reported.

“It will help Vietnam conduct modern studies and boost the application of nuclear energy in socio-economic sectors,” he said, as cited by the Saigon Times.

The project will be split across two sites in Hanoi and the Central Highlands town of Da Lat, said Thanh. The Da Lat site will include a 15 megawatt reactor, 30 times the capacity of the country’s only nuclear reactor that was built in 1963.

He said the reactor will produce radioactive isotopes for medical purposes as the existing plant can only meet 30 percent of the country's demand.

The center is the first major nuclear project discussed publicly in Vietnam since the country announced it was scrapping plans for its first nuclear power plants in the central province of Ninh Thuan last November, seven years after they were approved.

The decision was due to economic reasons, not safety or technological issues, officials said at the time.

The power plants would have cost VND400 trillion ($17.6 billion), but the country needs to focus on infrastructure development at the moment, they said.

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