First, the pertinent data on Vietnam's energy development;
Vietnam has considered establishing nuclear power generation since 1995, and firm proposals surfaced in 2006.
Russia has agreed to finance and build 2000 MWe of nuclear capacity.
Japan has agreed similarly for another 2000 MWe.
Vietnam is the most significant of the three lower Mekong countries, with a population of 88 million. Vietnam produced 100.1 billion kWh gross in 2010 from 19.7 GWe of plant, giving per capita consumption of 1140 kWh/yr. In 2009, 33% of the country's capacity was hydro, 17% gas (CCGT), 12% coal, 6% oil - all under Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), and 33% was with IPP & BOT outside EVN.
Electricity supply in 2010 was 38% from hydro, 33.6% gas and 18.5% coal. GDP growth in 2010 was 6.8%. In 2012 demand is expected to be 10.9% up on 2011, total 120.8 billion kWh: 45.0 hydro, 24.8 coal, 45.7 gas, 0.5 oil, and 4.65 import from China. A total of 3.1 GWe capacity is due to be added in 2012.
Demand is growing rapidly, resulting in rationing. Electricity demand growth has been 14% pa and is expected to be 15% pa to 2015, then slowing to 2020. A 500 kV grid runs the length of the country and some 95% of the rural population has access to electricity.
Projections of power demand (base scenario) in 2011 are:
30.8 GWe, 194 TWh in 2015 (33% hydro, 35.5% coal),
52.0 GWe, 320 TWh in 2020 (26% hydro, 46% coal, 17% gas, 1.5% nuclear),
77.0 GWe, 490 TWh in 2025 (21% hydro, 46% coal, 16% gas, 6% nuclear),
110.2 GWe, 695 TWh in 2030 (16% hydro, 56% coal, 11% gas, 8% nuclear - with nuclear share then increasing to 20-25% by 2050).
Nuclear power proposals
In the early 1980s two preliminary nuclear power studies were undertaken, followed by another which reported in 1995 that: "Around the year 2015, when electricity demand reaches more than 100 billion kWh, nuclear power should be introduced for satisfying the continuous growth in the country's electricity demand in that time and beyond". Current projections almost double this.
In February 2006 the government announced that a 2000 MWe nuclear power plant should be on line by 2020. This general target was confirmed in a nuclear power development plan approved by the government in August 2007, with the target being raised to a total of 8000 MWe nuclear by 2025. A general law on nuclear energy was passed in mid 2008, and a comprehensive legal and regulatory framework is being developed.
Since October 2008, two reactors total 2000 MWe have been planned at Phuoc Dinh in the southern Ninh Thuan province. A further 2000 MWe was planned at Vinh Hai nearby, followed by a further 6000 MWe by 2030. Both locations are based particularly on geological suitability on the coast. A high demand scenario would give 8000 MWe in 2025 and 15,000 MWe (10% of total) in 2030 at up to eight sites in five provinces. Four more units would be added to the first two sites, then six more at three or four central sites in provinces of Quang Ngai (Duc Thang or Duc Chanh), Binh Dinh (Hoai My) and Phu Yen (Xuan Phuong). These, plus Ky Xuan in the northern Ha Tinh province, remained proposals in mid 2011.
From the WNN:
Vietnam is to set up a new National Council for Atomic Energy Development, tasked with identifying strategies and priorities for the development of nuclear energy in the country.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung's announcement of the decision to set up the council was reported by Vietnam's official government press agency. Headed by Vietnam's science and technology minister, the council will advise the government on "orientations and strategies," identify priority areas for each development stage, and draw up key policies on nuclear energy development and application.
It will also coordinate ministries, agencies, governmental bodies and localities in developing nuclear energy and "realizing" nuclear power programs. The council will also take on a role in international nuclear cooperation activities with organizations and individual countries.
Vietnam's plans for nuclear power are well advanced. The country's Atomic Energy Law came into force in 2009 and intergovernmental agreements in place with Russia and Japan allow for the construction of its first two nuclear power plants, both in Ninh Thuan province. Costruction work has yet to begin, although the first Russian-designed unit at Ninh Thuan I is pencilled in to begin operation by the end of 2020.