Before the end of October Russia will sign to build a nuclear power plant in Vietnam, provide the fuel and take it back for reprocessing.
The countries intend to "accelerate work" towards the signing, said Vietnamese prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung after a meeting with Rosatom's director general Sergey Kirienko.
Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet and minister of trade Vu Huy Huang were also present.
Nearly all the key points of the necessary intergovernmental agreement are in place, Kirienko said, noting that Russia is to guarantee a loan for the construction. A delegation from Vietnam's Ministry of Finance is set to visit Moscow in mid-September and Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin is expected to visit Hanoi in October to sign off the final deal.
In line with its agreements with Iran and Turkey, Russia will be supplying nuclear fuel for the new Vietnamese reactors as well as removing it for reprocessing, "thus solving all the issues of nuclear and radiation safety related to the handling of used nuclear fuel in the territory of Vietnam," said Kirienko.
Nuclear Vietnam on the way
Uranium has been declared a 'mineral of national interest' in Vietnam, and efforts are being made to begin exploration for the mineral. A memorandum of understanding was completed in recent days to see Canada-based NWT Uranium become "directly involved in all aspects of uranium exploration, including analyzing and assessing uranium ore, evaluating technical and economic feasibility of properties."
Beyond uranium, Vietnam has a three-phase plan to introduce nuclear power on a large scale. Up to 2015, it will approve investment and locations, select contractors and train managers and technicians.
In the second phase to 2020, the country will finalize construction and put into operation the first 1000 MWe reactor at Phuoc Dinh in the southern Ninh Thuan province.
And by 2030, Vietnam wants to construct a further 13 power reactors. A second 1000 MWe unit at the Phuoc Dinh site will begin operating in 2012. Two further 1000 MWe units are planned there, with operation scheduled for 2023 and 2024 respectively. Four 1000 MWe reactors are also planned for Vinh Hai in the Ninh Hai district. The first two are slated to begin operating in 2021 and 2022, with the second pair starting up in 2024 and 2025.