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Vietnam Mulls Cancellation of Ninh Thuan Nuclear Power Plants

Vietnam’s future nuclear power development in Ninh Thuan hasn’t seen much smooth sailing. After being delayed once, then again and again, recently, the central government has started considering scrapping the plan for good.

According to VnExpress, the government submitted a proposal to cancel the construction of two power plants in Ninh Thuan province last Thursday. The plan is being reviewed by the National Assembly, but many experts expect it to pass.

In an interview with Zing, Le Hong Tinh, vice chairman of the National Assembly's Science, Technology and Environment Committee, was quoted as saying the decision to build the plants is no longer financially sound. When the initial proposal for the facilities passed in 2009, Vietnam’s economic growth was a healthy 7-8% and projected to reach 9-10%.

With such optimistic growth rates, utility authorities put forth plans for nuclear power facilities to accommodate the country’s growing hunger for power. However, Vietnam's economy has slowed down in recent years, and current growth rates are not high enough to justify the new plants.

Duong Quang Thanh, head of the state-run Electricity of Vietnam Group (EVN), also echoed this sentiment. EVN would have paid for the plants if things had gone according to plan, but Thanh recently announced that the construction wouldn’t be wise as there are cheaper options available.

"Currently, power demand growth is not high, while domestically generated and imported sources of energy are sufficient for social-economic development. In particular, prices of imported sources of energy are much cheaper now," he told the Associated Press. "Nuclear power, therefore, cannot compete economically with other sources of energy."

At the moment, Vietnam receives half of its power from fossil fuel – coal, oil and gas – while hydropower accounts for the other half.

[Photo via Vietnam News]

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