Vietnam picks Japan to supply second nuclear power plant
Hanoi - Vietnam has selected Japan to supply its second nuclear power plant and the deal can go through as soon as the parliament in Tokyo approves an atomic cooperation treaty, Japanese officials said Monday.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung announced the selection Sunday during talks with his Japanese counterpart Naoto Kan in Hanoi.
The plant is expected to come into operation in 2021, shortly after Vietnam's first nuclear power plant, which is to built by the Russian nuclear energy consortium Atomstroyexport.
The Japanese reactor will be supplied by the International Nuclear Energy Development of Japan Co (JINED), said Takahiro Shimomura of the Japanese embassy in Hanoi. JINED, launched last month, is a government-backed consortium co-owned by Japanese electric power companies and nuclear engineering firms.
Before JINED can export nuclear technology to Vietnam, both Japan and the US must conclude nuclear cooperation agreements with Hanoi. Some of Japan's nuclear technology is based on patents held by US firms.
Shimomura said progress on a Japan-Vietnam nuclear agreement was at an advanced stage.
"Actually, the negotiations are finished, but we need to consult with Japan's congress," Shimomura said. "I think it will not take a long time."
The US has been moving towards a nuclear cooperation agreement with Vietnam, known as a Section 123 agreement, since early this year. US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said negotiations on the agreement were moving forward when she visited Hanoi last week.
France and South Korea had also been in competition to supply Vietnam with a nuclear reactor. The selection of a Japanese consortium with US involvement is widely believed to reflect strategic and diplomatic considerations.
Vietnam has sought to balance rising Chinese power in recent years by strengthening its relationships with the US, Japan and Russia.
Deutsche Presse Agentur - November 1st, 2010