HANOI, March 16 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia and Vietnam have signed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the removal to Russia of the spent nuclear fuel from Vietnam’s Research Nuclear Reactor in the city of Dalat.
Deputy Director General of the Russian State Corporation for Atomic Energy (Rosatom) Nikolai Spassky and Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Le Dinh Tien put their signatures to the document on Friday.
“This is already the fifth atomic energy cooperation agreement signed with Vietnam. The preceding documents envisaged the construction of a nuclear power plant with Russia’s assistance and creation of the atomic science and technology centre in Vietnam. This document is of huge political importance for the sides,” Spassky told Itar-Tass.
In his opinion, the agreement is Russia’s and Vietnam’s common contribution into the strengthening of the international non-proliferation regime.
He pointed to the fact that the agreement was signed on the eve of an important international event – the second nuclear security summit due in Seoul on March 26-27. On the sidelines of the forum, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will meet with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, the Rosatom representative said.
He considers the intergovernmental agreement as not only a bilateral document on the removal of spent nuclear fuel, but also as a part of an international program, which is being implemented by Russia and the United States as well.
“This is a long-term program, which is being fulfilled across the whole world and embraces the countries, which have reactors of the old USSR and USA design,” Spassky said, adding that the question is about the removal of great amounts of highly enriched uranium.
“The new agreement with Vietnam will allow us to work out appropriate procedures in an unhurried manner to start removing spent fuel from Vietnam next year in compliance with the existing schedule,” he said.
He described the signed agreement as an important step towards development of bilateral cooperation, which confirms that Russia and Vietnam are interacting in the entire range of atomic technologies. “We build an NPP. We create the nuclear research centre. We train specialists for the sector. We help Vietnam to create the legal basis of the atomic energy industry. And now we signed the intergovernmental agreement on the removal of spent nuclear fuel,” Spassky said, stressing, “Therefore, we have got another large sphere of cooperation.”
The nuclear reactor in Dalat was created with the USA assistance and was commissioned in 1963. The reactor was halted in the period of the active military operations. In 1984, the Dalat reactor was reconstructed by the USSR aid and re-commissioned. Its capacity is 500 kilowatts. The unit is used exclusively for the research purposes.