We'll know this month if Vietnam will be joining the nuclear family, but the signs are good:
A law on nuclear energy is expected to be approved by the National Assembly this month, paving the way for the country’s first nuclear power plant. An investment report and procedures to build the plant in southern Ninh Thuan Province would be completed and given the all clear by the NA next year, deputy director of the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), Nguyen Manh Hung said.
The story notes that the country has had to get cracking on bringing its workforce up-to-speed for this project, but nuclear energy has been on the radar for awhile.
The country currently [as of 2004] has a 500-kW research reactor at the Da Lat Nuclear Research Institute, with a workforce of three assistant professors, eight doctors, 30 masters and 82 engineers.
I could not find information on what kind of plant Vietnam might be planning or from what source - France's AREVA seems a good potential partner, but the two countries' history might not make France the go-to partner of choice. (The story says the plant will have four turbines with a combined capacity of 4,000MW worth US$6 billion. Seems a bargain.)
Another story from the Vietnam News Agency suggests some possibilities.
A visiting delegation of representatives from major US corporations arrived in Vietnam yesterday to start seeking business opportunities on a trip organised annually by the US-ASEAN Business Council (USABC).
The delegation comprises 50 high-ranking officials from 23 groups and companies, including the General Electric Company, AES, Boeing, Chevron and ConocoPhilips. The tour is led by USABC chairman Matthew P. Daley and Stuart Dean, the president of GE Southeast Asia.
The company to note here is GE, whose GE Hitachi unit could be very useful (but note comment about AREVA above and apply here). It's early days and presumably, Vietnam has a process to go through that has not even begun yet. Forgive a little anticipatory excitement - let's see how that vote goes.
Photograph used with kind permission of vietnam-in-pictures.com.