VietNamNet Bridge – The Vietnam Atomic Energy Institute has urged to build up
a nuclear science technology center, saying that this is an important link of
the national program on developing nuclear power, a crucial testing for the
capability of implementing the program.
Dr Tran Chi Thanh
Right after getting the nod from the National Assembly on the development of the
nuclear power program, in December 2009, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung paid a
working visit to Russia, where, at the working session with the then Prime
Minister Putin, asked Russia to help build the first nuclear power plant in
Also at the meeting, the Russian side suggested building a nuclear science
technology center to help develop Vietnam’s nuclear power program.
Dr. Tran Chi Thanh, Head of the Vietnam Atomic Energy Institute, emphasized that
the existence of such a center is very necessary for Vietnam, especially in the
context of the Vietnam’s low science and technology development level.
In fact, when Russia suggested the building of the center, did not say in
details about what the center would have. After a lot of arguments about if the
center needs to have a nuclear pile, the Ministry of Science and Technology has
decided to develop a center with a nuclear pile. The plan has been supported by
the Russian side.
In November 2011, Vietnam and Russia signed an inter-government agreement on the
construction of the nuclear science and technology center with the investment
capital of $500 million. The capital would be loaned by the Russian government
at preferential interest rate.
In April, Dr. Thanh and his colleagues would have a working visit to Russia to
work with ROSATCOM, the Russian stated owned atomic energy conglomerate on the
The nuclear science technology center, once operational, would have the main
functions of making scientific research and developing technologies to support
the national nuclear power program development, carrying out advanced research
works on nuclear physics, material and biology sciences.
Especially, it would also develop some services such as making radioisotopes for
health treatment and carrying out training programs.
The center has been decided to be located in Da Lat City, where there is another
nuclear pile already. This would allow Vietnam to take full advantage of the
workforce and the 30-year experience to develop the center with a new nuclear
The new pile would be situated in another place, which is about 12 kilometers
far from the existing pile. ROSATCOM has conducted a preliminary field trip to
the place and has come to a conclusion that the place can well satisfy the
requirements for the construction of such a center.
Once the new pile is put into operation, the existing pile would be used mainly
for the training, which is a part of the program on developing the Da Lat
University into the leading training establishment in the country in producing
the labor force for the nuclear industry.
Dr. Thanh has revealed that Vietnam would “place orders” to the Russian side
when drawing up the feasibility study of the project. The science technology
center will have to fulfill the functions Vietnam wants.
Especially, Vietnamese specialists will hold the main role in calculating and
designing the new nuclear pile. Vietnamese officers would also implement other
tasks together with the Russian partner.