Overview of Vietnam Nuclear Power Programme

Overview of Vietnam Nuclear Power Programme

Overview of Vietnam Nuclear Power Programme

Ninh Thuan 1 NPP

Vietnam is embarking country with ambitious nuclear power program, although a number of capacity-related obstacles may delay this. On 21 July 2011, the Prime Minister approved the National Master Plan for Powered Development for 2011-2020 with the Vision to 2030. The plan calls for seven reactors to be built, with the first completed by 2030. At that point, Vietnam plans a nuclear power capacity of 10,700 MW or 10.1% of its electricity production.

In October 2010 an intergovernmental agreement was signed for Atomstroyexport to build the Ninh Thuan 1 nuclear power plant at Phuoc Dinh, using two VVER-1000 reactors based on those at Tianwan in China. However, in October 2014 Viet Nam announced to expect using the later AES-2006 nuclear plants. It is to be constructed as a turnkey project. In July 2015 EVN and NIAEP-Atomstroyexport signed a general framework agreement for construction of the first unit, with the actual VVER-1200 reactors. The final design of reactor has not been decided and depended on the review result of feasibility study report.

Russia has agreed to provide the majority of financing for the project —up to $9 billion according to a November 2011 agreement — and will provide additional assistance such as training and fuel services, including construction of a Nuclear Science and Technology Center and spent fuel take-back for the reactors.

The initial schedule was for construction start in 2014 and operation from 2020, but commencement has been delayed to 2019, with six years construction envisaged.

Ninh Thuan 2 NPP

As intergovernmental agreement signed in October 2010, Japan has agreed to construct a second nuclear power plant at Vinh Hai (Ninh Thuan 2), composed of two 1000MWe reactors, and to provide additional training and assistance.

In February 2011 JAPC signed an agreement with EVN to advance the feasibility study, and in September it signed a contract with EVN to provide consulting services to help with site selection and an 18-month feasibility study including technology selection with economic and financial analysis, funded by the Japanese government. EVN listed six criteria to apply, including late-model reactors, stable supply of fuel, support for local industry and education of staff, and financial support. There are 03 technologies to be chosen candidates with APWR, AP1000 and ATMEA 1, however the decision on technology has not been made yet until now.

However, early 2014, the Vietnamese Government announced the Russian nuclear power plant contract could be delayed until 2020 due to safety concerns following the Fukushima earthquake. This delay will most likely affect the construction of the second Japanese power plant as the original plan for start of construction in 2015.

The location of 02 sites for Ninh Thuan 1 and Ninh Thuan 2 nuclear power plan are shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4. Location of Ninh Thuan 1 and Ninh Thuan 2 NPP

A new research reactor

Within the framework of cooperation between Viet Nam and Russia in the field of using atomic energy for peaceful purposes, Rosatom has worked with MOST to establish a new Centre for Nuclear Energy Science & Technology (CNEST) under VINATOM, based in Hanoi but having facilities in both the south and the north. CNEST has been planned to operational by 2025. The main nuclear facility of this Centre is a multi-purpose high-flux 15 MW nuclear research reactor. The pre-Feasibility Study of the CNEST Project has been submitted to Prime Minister for approval and is expected to be approved by the end of 2016 though the site is not yet decided.

CNEST is established with the main following objectives.

i) Technical support for nuclear power programme;

ii) Deployment of modern research activities in the atomic energy field;

iii) Conducting of relevant production and services, production of radioactive isotope, sealed radioactive sources, silicon doping, activation analysis, materials studies using neutron beam;

iv) Training and human resource development in the atomic energy field.

Vietnam Legal and regulatory framework

Figure. Legal framework in Viet Nam

Licensing process

The issues of independence of regulatory decision-making and coordination among involved entities become more complex with regard to the legal framework for regulating the proposed Nuclear Power Plants (NPP). According to the Law on Atomic Energy and Decree No. 70/2010/ND- CP, the Prime Minister approves the location of an NPP. MOST grants the construction licence after it has consulted MONRE and the National Nuclear Safety Council (NNSC). MOIT has the responsibility to issue the operating licence after consulting MOST and NNSC, although EVN, the NPP operator, is a State Company under the direct management of MOIT. The independence of regulatory decision making is therefore potentially compromised since there is no clear separation of promotional and regulatory activities within the same Ministry. Furthermore, the licensing responsibilities are fragmented between Ministries, which is a challenge for ensuring regulatory effectiveness.

Organizational chart of VARANS - Nuclear Regulatory Body

Human resource development

VARANS should have independent technical expertise to carry out its regulatory functions. Therefore, in recent years, VARANS has conducted numerous training courses with different levels (basic, intensive, on job training) under support of its international partners such as IAEA, EC, NRA, USNRC, Rostechnadzor, etc…

  • IAEA: the NOKEBP Pilot Program for safety assessment (since 7/2011, ongoing)

Essential Knowledge for PSA, DSA and SA, PSA level 2/SA

Assessment of Chapter15 (class trainings and mentorings)

Practice with RELAP5 and Risk Spectrum

  • IAEA: VIE9010/VIE9013/VIE9015/VIE9017
  • ANSN: safety analysis topical groups
  • JNES/NRA (Japan): basic courses and SSA courses
  • USNRC (USA): PARC/SCALE, PSA, Site assessment
  • Rostechnadzor (Russia): short term trainings, scientific visits
  • EC VN3.01/09 and VN3.01/13 (national program)
  • Training courses by IRSN, GRS, STUK on site characteristics, internal/external hazards, radioactive dispersion, assessment of systems; Internship at IRSN: internal/external hazards, system design, etc.

In additional, VARANS has developed long-term training and research project plans. Currently, MOST is deploying the “National project on training and human resource development for state management, research and deployment and technical support serving for nuclear power program up to 2020” which was approved by Prime Minister by the Decision No. 1756/QD-TTG on 15 Oct 2015. The goals of this National Project is to: develop and enhance technical capacity of national management human resource and technical support capacity to meet requirement to implement Ninh Thuan NPP Projects and nuclear power programme in safe and secure manner.