Vietnam on Wednesday signed a deal with a Japanese firm to study the development of an atomic power plant despite an earthquake-triggered nuclear disaster in Japan.
“This is an important milestone, showing Vietnam’s determination to develop nuclear power plants, especially in the face of global economic difficulties and after the incident at Japan’s Fukushima plant,” Vietnam’s deputy minister of Industry and Trade, Hoang Quoc Vuong, said at the signing ceremony.
The Japan Atomic Power Co. reached the two billion-yen (US$26.1 million) deal with state-run Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) to undertake a feasibility study and other consulting over 18 months.
On a visit to Vietnam last October, Japan’s then-Prime minister Naoto Kan announced with his Vietnamese counterpart that the two countries would join forces to build two nuclear reactors in Vietnam.
At the same time, Moscow and Hanoi reached a multi billion-dollar deal for Vietnam’s first nuclear power facility.
According to its website, Japan Atomic Power operates nuclear energy stations in Tokai-mura and Tsuruga-city
An earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11 caused a nuclear meltdown at a Fukushima plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company.
The world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl 25 years ago has forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes and has heavily damaged farming, fisheries and tourism in the region.
After the disaster Vietnam said it would still pursue its nuclear programme and make safety a priority.
Energy-short Vietnam wants to build eight nuclear facilities in the next two decades. Initial government plans call for four reactors, with a total capacity of 4,000 megawatts and at least one of them operational by 2020.