The Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation (ROSATOM) is set to build Vietnam’s Centre for Nuclear Energy Science & Technology (CNEST). CNEST will have a nuclear reactor and a multiple-function cyclotron. Along with bold and modern nuclear facilities, the technology complex will also have a research and development laboratory.
Up to nine companies have expressed interest in the Vietnamese nuclear power plant projects. The country wants to build as many as ten plants, with a total capacity of 11,900 MWe.
The development stemmed from an agreement between Vietnam and Russia signed in 2014. The research and development complex will be used for the development and application of radioisotopes for nuclear medicine.
It is expected to help treat about 10,000 cancer patients along with those suffering from cardiovascular and other diseases. About 15,000 patients will also be helped by the center in terms of diagnosis for cancer, lung disease, endocrine problems and mental diseases. Other nuclear research innovations include applications for underground water and soil samples for the mining industry.
Nuclear Research for Growth and Development
Nuclear medicine is an important industry for nuclear research. Besides radiotherapy for cancer patients, there are other cases where nuclear materials are at the heart of the procedure. There are some tests for soil samples which use nuclear materials, and with the CNEST, the country does not need to out-source for materials from abroad.
As the only nuclear research facility in Vietnam, it is also expected to be used for various researches for materials science, agriculture, health care, engineering and industry. The nuclear center will have an expected life of around 50 years, with regular upgrades. There are also plans to expand CNEST in the coming years.
ROSATOM is the number one nuclear power and research center builder in the world. It built and operates more than 34 nuclear power plants in 12 countries. With more than 50 years in operation, it has built 20% of all nuclear research reactors in the world, and a total of more than 120 nuclear reactors of all kinds located around the world.
Vietnam is Going Nuclear
The nuclear research center is a separate project from the nuclear power plants that the Vietnamese government is planning to build. Plans are in place for the first two power plants to be in operation by 2028 and delivering 1200 MWe and 1100 MWe, with another 1200MWe capacity plant to be finished by 2029. Up to nine companies have expressed interest in the Vietnamese nuclear power plant projects. The country wants to build as many as ten plants, with a total capacity of 11,900 MWe.
Vietnam expects its electricity demand to grow to 110.2 GWe by 2030. In line with this, they also plan to use nuclear energy production for 8% of their total energy requirement. This is expected to increase to 20%-25% by 2050. These plans however may be put on indefinite hold as the country has been experiencing an economic slowdown which has led to less demand.
Vietnam is bullish on its peaceful nuclear development program. In 2014, a local company, the Doosan Heavy Industries Vietnam Ltd. became the first ASME certified manufacturer of nuclear components in Southeast Asia. The certification came only 7 years after it started operations.
This is a bold advance in technology for a tiny war-torn country. It is noteworthy that Vietnam has managed to develop a growing economy in just a few short years that can now enjoy high-tech research and medical projects.