Last update 3/19/2012 9:40:05 AM (GMT+7)

Vietnam to return nuclear fuel to Russia
VietNamNet Bridge - Vietnam and Russia have inked an agreement on transporting highly enriched uranium fuel rods used by the Da Lat nuclear reactor to Russia.

The agreement was signed in Hanoi on March 16, by Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Le Dinh Tien and Deputy Director General Nikolay Spasskiy of the Rosatom Nuclear Energy Corporation.

Minister of Science and Education, Nguyen Quan, said this is an important event reflecting Vietnam’s commitment in implementing the joint statement of the first Nuclear Security Summit in Washington in 2010 and the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit this year.

“Together with the agreement on building the Ninh Thuan 1 nuclear power plant and the Nuclear Science and Technology Center, this agreement has reaffirmed the strategic cooperation between Vietnam and Russia in using atomic energy for peaceful purposes and ensuring security and safety and nonproliferation of nuclear weapons,” Mr. Quan said.

These agreements will facilitate Russia’s assistance and cooperation with Vietnam in building and developing the latter’s young nuclear energy sector, as well as its implementation of commitments to ensuring security and safety and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, he added.

The transportation of used highly enriched uranium fuel rods to Russia will be completed by May 2013, the Minister said.

Since 2007, Vietnam has been involved in the program to change fuel used by Da Lat reactor from highly enriched uranium (HEU) to lowly enriched uranium (LEU). The program was jointly initiated by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the US and Russia to manage HEU fuel used in research reactors manufactured by the US and Russia--to prevent the use of this source of fuel for non-peaceful purposes.

In September 2007, Vietnam transported 35 unused HEU fuel rods of the Da Lat reactor to Russia and received 36 new LEU fuel rods made by Russia.

In December 2010, Vietnam received and transported 66 LEU fuel rods to the Da Lat reactor to replace all HEU fuel rods being used.

In 2011, the Da Lat reactor successfully started its operation with LEU fuel.