North Vietnam now intends to construct eight nuclear reactors, twice the number described in its existing plans, according to a statement by deputy prime minister Nguyen Thien Nhan, reported in Japanese newspaper The Nikkei on May 18. The overall programme cost is also expected to double to about 3 trillion yen.

Vietnam is currently planning to build southeast Asia’s first nuclear power plants outside China. The project is in its first stage, which includes building a facility with two reactors in the southern province of Ninh Thuan. Construction is to begin in 2014, with the facilities to go onstream in 2020. The government plans to construct two more reactors in the first stage of its nuclear power project.

Aside from the four initially planned, Nhan said, four additional reactors will be built, but he did not reveal the locations or other details. He noted that six factors will be taken into account in awarding contracts, including the introduction of proven advanced technologies, the offering of low-interest loans and a stable supply of nuclear fuel over the long term. Vietnam will give priority to the partner that best meets these demands, he said.

Russia’s state-owned nuclear power firm Rosatom is expected to win the order for the first plant. Toshiba, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and Hitachi Ltd have formed a consortium with the Japanese government to bid for the second plant.

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