The Ministry of Science and Technology (MST) has pressed the National Assembly and the government to make a decision on where to set up the nation's first nuclear reactor.
MST's Minister Nguyen Quan has warned that Vietnam has been falling behind in implementing its plan to build the reactor. Construction was initially planned to begin in late 2013 in Da Lat City. However, to date, it is still uncertain as to where the reactor will be built.
MST waters down a blame on Da Lat's authorities
After making a thorough survey, MST submitted to the government a report affirming that the most suitable site for the nuclear reactor is the one proposed in Ward 12 of Da Lat.
The new reactor, to be located in an area of 100 hectares, is part of a project of the Vietnam-Russia Nuclear Technology Research Institute, capitalized at $500 million. The credit for the project would be provided by the Russian government and kicked off in 2015.
At a meeting in January 2013, the government agreed to MST's proposed site in Da Lat.
However, the Da Lat City People's Committee has unexpectedly expressed its opposition to the plan, suggesting an alternate site for the reactor, some 22 kilometers outside the city. Explaining this, Dr Nguyen Nhi Dien, Head of the Da Lat Nuclear Research Institute, said the city's leaders fear the project may affect tourism development and various investment projects nearby.
In its latest report about the reactor project, MST emphasized that the opposition of the Da Lat authorities has been the main factor hindering the project's pace. MST has once again insisted that its chosen site is the best choice for the project, as it is just 12 kilometers from Da Lat's center. The site is located near the existing power plant, which would create favorable conditions for the staff to run the plants.
The proposed nuclear reactor is expected to have a generating capacity 30 times that of the existing power plant.
Another advantage of MST's suggested location is a water reservoir with enough capacity for the nuclear reactor's use, which is far from residential quarters. The infrastructure in the area, including the roads, electricity, water and telecom services, are also advantageous.
PM will put an end to the argument
Da Lat's leaders have had many working sessions with MST, during which they have suggested five alternate sites. Two of them are located in the communes of Ta Nung and Tram Hanh of Da Lat, while the other three are in the communes of Da Nhim and Da Sar of Lac Duong District. All are relatively far from Da Lat's center. Of these, the site in Da Nhim Commune, 30 kilometers away from the city center, is believed the most suitable.
The suggestion was once again repeated at the meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh on March 25.
However, MST said it can see a series of problems that would arise if a reactor were to be set up there.
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