The limited role for nuclear can be explained by the high upfront capital costs, limited access to financing, and uneven and tepid public support in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. Public opposition has been especially evident in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand.”
former Rosatom head Sergey Kirienko’s team has been excellent at drawing up and signing nonbinding nuclear agreements … Actually building nuclear plants seems to be beyond them.
Vietnam’s amazing nuclear journey – why it ended, what it means for South East Asia, Energy Post, November 29, 2016 by Jim Green On November 10, Vietnam took the historic decision to scrap its nuclear power program, after many decades of nuclear preparations, up to a ground-breaking ceremony at the first proposed nuclear site in the country in 2014. Jim Green, editor of Nuclear Monitor, published by WISE (World Information Service on Energy), tells the amazing story of nuclear power in Vietnam – and discusses what the Vietnamese decision means for the prospects of nuclear power in South East Asia. Courtesy of Nuclear Monitor.
On November 10, Duong Quang Thanh, CEO of staterun Electricity of Vietnam, said the government would propose the cancellation of plans for reactors at the two Ninh Thuan sites to the National Assembly. He added that nuclear power was not included (or budgeted for) in the power plan which runs until 2030 and had already been approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
The National Assembly voted on November 22 to support the government’s decision to abandon plans to build nuclear power plants. Energy analyst Mycle Schneider said: “Vietnam is only the latest in a long list of countries, including more recently Chile and Indonesia, that have postponed indefinitely or abandoned entirely their plans for nuclear new-build.”
The decision to abandon nuclear power was primarily based on economics. Duong Quang Thanh said nuclear power is “not economically viable because of other cheaper sources of power.”
Le Hong Tinh, vice-chair of the National Assembly Committee for Science, Technology and Environment, said the estimated cost of four reactors at the two sites in Ninh Thuan province had nearly doubled to VND400 trillion (US$18 bn; €17.9 bn). The estimated price of nuclear-generated electricity had increased from 4‒4.5 US cents / kwh to 8 cents / kwh. Vietnam has spent millions of dollars on the project so far, Tinh said, but continuing the program would add more pressure to the already high public debt.
Another media report states that Japanese and Russian consultants said that the cost has escalated from the original estimate of US$10 billion to US$27 billion (€9.5‒25.6 bn). “The plants will have to sell power at around 8.65 cents a kWh, which is almost twice the rate approved in the project license and is not competitive at all,” according to the VN Express newspaper.
Vietnam’s rising public debt, which is nearing the government’s ceiling of 65% of GDP, was another reason for the program’s cancellation, saidCao Si Kiem, a National Assembly member and former governor of the central bank………
A May 2016 report by WWF-Vietnam and Vietnam Sustainable Energy Alliance (VSEA) finds that 100% of Vietnam’s power can be generated by renewable energy technologies by 2050. There are many available renewable power sources in Vietnam including solar, wind, geothermal heat, biomass and ocean energy. The report contrasts three scenarios: business as usual (with only modest growth of renewables), a Sustainable Energy Scenario (81% renewable power generation by 2050) and an Advanced Sustainable Energy Scenario (100%).
Nuclear power in South East Asia – or not
A 2015 International Energy Agency report anticipates that nuclear power will account for just 1% of electricity generation in south-east Asia by 2040.
The report states: “All countries in Southeast Asia that are interested in deploying nuclear power face significant challenges. These include sourcing the necessary capital on favourable terms, creation of legal and regulatory frameworks, compliance with international norms and regulations, sourcing and training of skilled technical staff and regulators, and ensuring public support. … The limited role for nuclear can be explained by the high upfront capital costs, limited access to financing, and uneven and tepid public support in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. Public opposition has been especially evident in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand.”
A June 2016 media article began: “Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear-energy agency, is bullish on the outlook of its business in Southeast Asia after the speedy development of a project in Vietnam and a range of agreements with every country in the region except Singapore, the Philippines and Brunei.”
Nikolay Drozdov, director of Rosatom’s international business department, said Rosatom is focusing a lot of attention on south-east Asia, reflected by the decision to establish a regional headquarters in Singapore.
Russia has nuclear cooperation agreements with seven countries in south-east Asia ‒ Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos. But not one of those seven countries ‒ or any other country in south-east Asia ‒ has nuclear power plants (the only exception is the Bataan reactor in the Philippines, built but never operated) and not one is likely to in the foreseeable future. Nor are other nuclear vendors likely to succeed where Russia is failing.
Drozdov said that after the (stalled) nuclear power project in Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia would likely be the next countries in the region to develop nuclear power.2 But Indonesia’s situation is much the same as Vietnam’s ‒ decades of wasted efforts with little to show for it (and the same could be said about Thailand).
Malaysia’s consideration of nuclear power is preliminary. Why would Russia be making such efforts in southeast Asia given that nuclear power prospects in the region are so dim? The answer may lie with domestic Russian politics. Given Rosatom’s astonishing industry in lining up non-binding nuclear agreements with over 20 countries ‒ ‘paper power plants’ as Vladimir Slivyak calls them ‒ we can only assume that such agreements are looked on favorably by the Russian government.
Slivyak writes: “These ‘orders’ are not contracts specifying delivery dates, costs and a clear timescale for loan repayments (in most cases the money lent by Russia for power plant construction comes with a repayment date). Eighty to ninety per cent of these reported arrangements are agreements in principle that are vague on details, and in the overwhelming majority of cases the contracts aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. … So it is clear that [former Rosatom head Sergey] Kirienko’s team has been excellent at drawing up and signing nonbinding nuclear agreements … Actually building nuclear plants seems to be beyond them.” http://energypost.eu/vietnam-dumps-nuclear-power-economic-reasons-rest-south-east-asia-may-follow/
Vietnam Formally Scraps Plans for First Nuclear Power Plants http://www.voanews.com/a/vietnam-scraps-plans-for-nuclear-power-plants/3607042.html , 22 Nov 16 HANOI — Vietnam’s legislature on Tuesday endorsed the government’s decision to scrap plans to build the country’s first two nuclear power plants.
A statement from the government announcing the endorsement said cheaper renewable energy and power imports were available and that investment should be made in more urgent infrastructure needs.
The National Assembly in 2009 approved plans to build two nuclear power plants with combined capacity of 4,000 megawatts. Construction contracts had been awarded to companies from Russia and Japan.
Construction was initially scheduled to start in 2014 but was delayed several times.
State media have reported that the nuclear power plants were not economically viable because of cheaper sources of power and that the costs of the plants had doubled to $18 billion.
Vietnam is poised to abandon plans for Japanese firms to build a multi-billion dollar nuclear power plant, damaging Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s drive to begin exporting reactors after the Fukushima disaster left the industry in deep-freeze at home.
The Japanese government said in a statement this week that it had been informed by Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung that Hanoi was close to a decision to cancel the project. Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Hiroshige Seko, described the move as “very regrettable.”
Vietnam’s decision, attributed to lower demand forecasts and rising costs as well as safety concerns, also deals a broader blow to the global nuclear business. Countries from Germany to Indonesia have decided to either pull out of nuclear energy or cancel development plans in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, the world’s worst since Chernobyl in 1986.
Though it has sought contracts for years, Japan has never led a nuclear project to completion overseas and Abe has lent his office’s prestige to attempts to win contracts, most recently in Turkey. The dented ambitions for exports come at a time when Japan is struggling to restart dozens of reactors shut down in the wake of Fukushima.
“This is a major blow to Japanese ambitions to, finally, export their first nuclear reactors,” said Schneider…….
DEMAND GROWTH EASING
Vietnam’s parliament is set next Tuesday to formally approve scrapping the Japanese deal, as well as the country’s first nuclear project, which was awarded to Russia’s Rosatom, according to state media. Rosatom said it would not comment until the Vietnam parliament formalized the decision.
The Japanese and Russian nuclear plants were supposed to have been located in central Ninh Thuan province…….. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-vietnam-nuclearpower-idUSKBN13D0RK
Vietnam ditches nuclear power plans, DW, 10 Nov 16
Vietnam has decided to scrap plans to build two nuclear power plants, which would have been the first in southeast Asia. Hydropower and coal are set to remain dominant in the fast-industrializing country. Vietnam’s ruling communist party decided Thursday that two planned plants in the southern region of Ninh Thuan will not feature in the country’s future energy mix, state-controlled media reported.
MP Duong Quang Thanh, chairman of the Electricity Committee in the National Assembly, confirmed that no budget for the plants – which were approved in 2008 with a combined capacity of 4,000 megawatts (MW) – had been included in a long-term energy plan approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, the DTI news website reported.
Le Hong Tinh, vice chairman of the National Assembly’s Science, Technology and Environment Committee, said a key reason for the government’s decision was that the price for the plants had doubled to $18 billion (about 16.5 billion euros)…….. http://www.dw.com/en/vietnam-ditches-nuclear-power-plans/a-36338419
Vietnam looks to delay Japan-, Russia-backed nuclear plants amid funds crunch, Japan Times, 6 Nov 16 KYODO HANOI – Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party in October instructed government authorities to revise plans to build nuclear power plants with Russian and Japanese assistance with a view to delaying them due to the government’s tight finances, it was learned Sunday from party and government sources.
The government is now working on a comprehensive revision of the plan and intends to submit a report to the National Assembly, according to the sources.
According to one of the sources, a considerable investment at the present time is “extremely difficult” given the financial situation of the government…….
some members of the Communist Party’s new leadership selected at a party congress in January have expressed concern over nuclear power plant construction while public debt remains high as well as over the safety of nuclear power.
At the fourth plenum of the 12th Party Central Committee in October, agreement was reached to reconsider the plan with a view to its postponement……http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/11/07/business/vietnam-looks-delay-japan-russia-backed-nuclear-plants-amid-funds-crunch/#.WB_SydJ97Gg
WILL CLIMATE CHANGE SINK THE MEKONG DELTA?, Mongabay News, 3 October 2016 / David Brown
No delta region in the world is more threatened by climate change. Will Vietnam act in time to save it?
- Scientists say the 1-meter sea level rise expected by century’s end will displace 3.5-5 million Mekong Delta residents. A 2-meter sea level rise could force three times that to higher ground.
- Shifting rainfall and flooding patterns are also threatening one of the most highly productive agricultural environments in the world.
- The onus is now on Vietnam’s government in Hanoi to approve a comprehensive adaptation and mitigation plan.
- This is the first article of an in-depth, four-part series exploring threats facing the Mekong Delta and how they might be addressed. Read the second installment here.
IIt’s a sad fact that several decades of talk about climate change have hardly anywhere yet led to serious efforts to adapt to phenomena that are virtually unavoidable. Neuroscientists say that’s because we’re humans. We aren’t wired to respond to large, complex, slow-moving threats. Our instinctive response is apathy, not action.
That paradox was much on my mind during a recent visit back to Vietnam’s fabulously fertile Mekong Delta, a soggy plain the size of Switzerland. Here the livelihood of 20 percent of Vietnam’s 92 million people is gravely threatened by climate change and by a manmade catastrophe, the seemingly unstoppable damming of the upper reaches of the Mekong River.
Samuel Johnson famously said that “nothing concentrates the mind so well as the prospect of imminent hanging.” It’s been nine years since a World Bank study singled out the Mekong Delta as one of the places on our planet that is most gravely threatened by sea level rise. There if anywhere, I imagined, I’d find a sense of urgency. I’d find adaptive measures well advanced.
I was wrong. Vietnamese government ministries, provincial administrations, experts from Vietnamese universities and thinktanks, experts deployed by the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and foreign governments: all have been pushing plans and policies. The problem has been to sort out the best ideas, make appropriate decisions and find the resources needed to implement them in a timely, coherent way.
Things may be coming together at last, I concluded after talking with dozens of local officials, professors, journalists and farmers in mid-June. None denied the reality of the problem. Many connected the question of what to do about climate change to older arguments over the best ways to grow more and better crops………
- No delta area, not the mouths of the Ganges, the Nile or the Mississippi, is more vulnerable than the Mekong estuary to the predictable impacts of climate change. The 1-meter sea level rise expected by the end of the 21st century, all else being equal, will displace 3.5-5 million people. If the sea instead rose by 2 meters, lacking effective countermeasures, some 75 percent of the Delta’s 18 million inhabitants would be forced to move to higher ground.
Already, said Professor Ni, there’s been a significant decrease in rainfall in the first part of the annual rainy season, and more rain toward the end. The Mekong’s annual flood peak has fallen by a third since 2000. The waters from upstream carry less silt to replenish the Delta floodplain. Also, the volume of fresh water is falling while the sea level rises. This allows salt-laden tidal water to penetrate further and further into Delta estuaries and swampy coastal areas during the dry season.
Modeling of current trends suggest that average temperatures in the Mekong Delta will rise by more than 3 degrees Celsius toward the end of the century. Annual rainfall will decrease during the first half of the century, and then rise well above the 20th century average. The area that’s flooded each autumn won’t change substantially, but the floods won’t last as long.
- All things being equal, rice yields will plummet as temperatures rise. Lighter rains in the early months of the wet season will challenge farmers’ ingenuity. Rising seas and reduced river flows will severely test the system of sea dikes. Riverbanks and the Delta coast are already crumbling; this will accelerate. Farmers who are unable to cope will head north to seek industrial and construction jobs.
That’s not all. At slide 70 (of 86) of the DRAGON presentation, attention shifts to upstream dam construction on Delta water regimes.For China, Laos and Thailand, the hydroelectric potential of the upper Mekong is a seemingly irresistable development opportunity. It may be that not all the dams they plan will be built across the Mekong mainstream. Whether a few or many, their impact on agriculture in Vietnam and Cambodia will be profoundly negative, Professor Ni, his colleagues at Can Tho University, and experts at other institutes in southern Vietnam have pounded the alarm gongs for years. The dam cascade is a nearer and more present danger, and apparently just as unstoppable as climate change.
DRAGON Institute’s slideshow concludes with a call to action. The future is bleak but not hopelessly so if appropriate adaptation and mitigation strategies are launched. What the Delta needs is revealed: sustainable development based on a triply effective foundation of water source security, food security and social security. https://news.mongabay.com/2016/10/will-climate-change-sink-the-mekong-delta/
Work on Russian-assisted nuclear power plant in Vietnam to begin in 2023 https://rbth.com/news/2016/07/15/work-on-russian-assisted-nuclear-power-plant-in-vietnam-to-begin-in-2023_611821 TASS
“The schedule is still set for 2028,” Tuan said. Construction will begin in 2022 or 2023, he added.
Such a timeframe is indicated in the revised master plan of Vietnam’s energy sector development, the official said.
Russia’s Rosatom is acting as a partner in the Ninh Thuan 1 nuclear power plant in Vietnam.
Enhancing U.S.-Vietnam Civil Nuclear Clean Energy Cooperation “…… Earlier this month, the United States and Vietnam signed the Administrative Arrangement under our historic agreement on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy (123 Agreement), which initially opened the door to nuclear trade between our two countries in 2014.
To further build on this robust cooperation in the civil nuclear field, the United States and Vietnam aim to:
Build Institutional Connections: Continue reading
Speaking at the event, Andrey Stankevich from ROSATOM Vietnam attached significance to publicity work to promote the development of nuclear energy…….
Communication work is crucial to raise public awareness of the development of the nuclear sector and get people’s approval of nuclear power, said Deputy Director of the Agency Nguyen Thi Thu Trang
According to the representative from ROSATOM Asia, the press and media need to be a reliable source of basic information on radiation, nuclear science and the safety of nuclear power plants.
They should also promote the benefits of the sector in terms of socio-economic development, health care, agriculture and industry.
Numerous activities will also take place during the “2016 Nuclear Science Day in Hanoi” programme, which runs until May 20, including a lecture by a professor from the Russia National Research Nuclear University (MEPhI) and an awards presentation for the recent Physics Olympiad winners. http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/science-it/156747/workshop-promotes-nuclear-power.html
Vietnam delays first nuclear power plant until 2020 Thanh Nien NewsNINH THUAN – Tuesday, December 08, 2015 Vietnam will delay the construction of its first nuclear power plant until 2020 to further assess the project’s environmental effects, an official has said.
The estimated cost of the project is US$8-10 billion, with funding set to come from Russia…….http://www.thanhniennews.com/tech/vietnam-delays-first-nuclear-power-plant-until-2020-55653.html
Nonproliferation and Nuclear Energy: The Case of Vietnam Is Vietnam diverting its civilian know-how to create an indigenous nuclear weapons program? Not yet, says the CSS’ Oliver Thränert, but increased tensions or overt conflict with China could lead Hanoi to develop its own nuclear deterrent. By Oliver Thränert for Center for Security Studies (CSS) 26 October 2015
For many years, the international nuclear non-proliferation regime has been in deep crisis. This became apparent most recently when the ninth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in May 2015 ended without a common final document. At the same time, a number of threshold countries are planning to begin using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. In a time of increasing international tensions, some of them might build on know-how acquired through their civilian programs to safeguard their national security needs through a nuclear weapons program in the near future. Vietnam is an interesting case in point. Irrespective of certain delays in the development of its peaceful nuclear program, the country has progressed quite far. At the same time, it is engaged in an increasingly precarious conflict with its main neighbor, nuclear-armed China. Currently, there are no signs of a Vietnamese nuclear weapons program. In the framework of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, the country is a model of transparency and cooperation. But it is uncertain whether this will always remain the case. On the contrary, Hanoi might change its policy if the conflict with China should come to a head while the NPT continues to be weakened…….
Vietnam’s strategic situation Vietnam’s strategic environment is rapidly changing. This is especially true for Vietnam’s relations with China. While the Communist parties of the two countries regard each other as brother parties and economic relations run deep, the two countries also have disputes over certain small islands in the South China Sea and over the mutual demarcation of exclusive economic zones in these waters. The extent of widespread anti-Chinese feeling among the general public became evident in May 2014, when a Chinese oil platform was discovered in an area claimed by Vietnam. Subsequently, there were not only skirmishes between Chinese and Vietnamese vessels, but also demonstrations in several Vietnamese cities that escalated into violence in which several people were killed.
With an increasingly aggressive China next door, Vietnam, like most of the riparian states, is seeking closer engagement with the US. Washington has become one of Vietnam’s main trading partners. Military relations, too, have been intensified. In July 2013, speaking in Washington, D.C., US President Barack Obama and Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang announced a comprehensive bilateral partnership. One important step towards the closer development of ties was the passing in Congress of a 123 Agreement in September 2014, which paved the way for future cooperation in the peaceful use of the atom.
Despite the interest in improving cooperation with the US across the board, however, the leadership in Vietnam must be aware that issues such as the country’s single-party system, together with a human-rights situation that the US continues to regard as problematic, are certain to resurface time and again in relations with Washington. Against this background, US security guarantees such as Japan and South Korea have been given can hardly be expected by Vietnam. At the same time, there is the danger that an overly evident rapprochement with Washington might provoke reactions by China. Thus, Hanoi is forced to perform a difficult tightrope walk, balancing out its relations with China on the one hand against those with the US on the other………http://www.isn.ethz.ch/Digital-Library/Articles/Detail/?id=194337
Vietnam’s Slowing Growth and Safety Concerns Delay Nuclear Plans WSJ, By VU TRONG KHANH, 23 Jan 15 Vietnam’s plan to introduce nuclear power to its energy mix faced a fresh setback on Thursday as safety concerns and legal issues pushed back the planned construction of the country’s first nuclear plant by about five years from the initial schedule………
Construction of the country’s first nuclear power plant isn’t likely to begin until 2019, said Hoang Anh Tuan, director general of Vietnam Atomic Energy Agency. The revised schedule comes after the government had already pushed its planned 2014 construction date to 2017……..
The need for the new plant had become less pressing recently, though, as Vietnam’s demand for electricity hasn’t risen as fast as previously forecast, Mr. Tuan said………
Phan Minh Tuan, director of Vietnam Electricity Group’s Nuclear Power & Renewable Energy Projects Pre-Investment Board, said safety concerns had also had an impact on the proposed construction start date……..
The country has chosen Russian utility and nuclear energy company Rosatom to build the first plant, the 2,000 megawatt Ninh Thuan 1. The Russian government has also pledged to lend Vietnam at least $8 billion for the project.
In 2011, Vietnam signed a contract with Japan Atomic Power for a feasibility study to build a second nuclear power plant nearby, the 2,000 MW Ninh Thuan 2, which is expected to use either Japanese or U.S. technology.
Mr. Tuan said Westinghouse is keen to supply its technology for the construction of the second plant, adding that the company earlier this month signed an agreement with Vietnam to train Vietnamese personnel to manage and operate nuclear power facilities in the country. http://blogs.wsj.com/frontiers/2015/01/23/vietnams-slowing-growth-and-safety-concerns-delay-nuclear-plans/
Meanwhile, Vietnam Plus of the Vietnam News Agency reported that the US Congress began considering a cooperation proposal on May 9. It has 90 days to consider the issue before making a final decision.
Prior to that, the Vietnamese and US representatives signed a Vietnam-US nuclear cooperation agreement in Hanoi on May 6 (Agreement 123).
Vietnamese officials and scientists have expressed their satisfaction about the agreement.Minister of Science and Technology Nguyen Quan said at the signing ceremony that the agreement can be seen as an open door for both the US and Vietnam to accelerate projects on nuclear energy development…….
The US Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) and the US nuclear energy firms have unanimously urged the US Congress to ratify the agreement soon, emphasizing that the strengthened cooperation with Vietnam in the sector would help boost exports and create more jobs.
The US firms can expect to earn $10-20 billion from the deals with Vietnam…..David Durham from GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GHE) has warned that if the US Congress does not ratify the agreement, US firms will lose the lucrative market of Vietnam……http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/science-it/106944/vietnam-nuclear-power-market-eyed-by-three-major-countries.html
Police, MİT to investigate nuclear plant employees http://www.worldbulletin.net/?aType=haber&ArticleID=116106 27 Aug 13, The General Directorate of Security will reportedly investigate 4,000 Turkish citizens, including interns, while MİT will look into 8,000 Russians to be hired to work at the plant
Twelve thousand workers to be employed at the Akkuyu nuclear power plant will be investigated for security purposes by police and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) in the southern province of Mersin, according to media reports on Monday. The General Directorate of Security will reportedly investigate 4,000 Turkish citizens, including interns, while MİT will look into 8,000 Russians to be hired to work at the plant, set to be built in Mersin’s Gülnar district.
The Energy and Natural Resources Ministry demanded investigations into the Akkuyu power plant staff by the Interior Ministry, which initially rejected the energy ministry’s demand, stating it was against the relevant directives.
Later, the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry demanded a special article be added to a directive that allowed only for the investigation of public servants, seeking the inclusion of employees of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, stating that the facility has strategic prominence in terms of state security.
The Justice Ministry received the demand and stated its opinion that there should be a special regulation in the directives for issues related to national security, meaning the investigation of the nuclear power plant workers should be made permissible.
Interior Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Mustafa Demirer issued a new directive to the governors of the 81 provinces stating that employees, Turkish interns and subcontractors at facilities with strategic importance such as nuclear power plants require investigation.
Future requests for security checks under the directive will be carried out through the investigation of archives; Turkish employees will be investigated by the General Directorate of Security, while MİT will be in charge of looking into foreign personnel.
So far, the General Directorate of Security and MİT have investigated the records of over 200 Turkish and foreign employees employed for the project. It has been reported that Turkish employees found to have a criminal record that includes such offenses as terrorism and smuggling will be terminated. Russian citizens who work at the Akkuyu nuclear plant will be deported if they are found to have a criminal record.
Obama’s Nuclear Vietnam National Review Online By Henry Sokolski June 4, 2013 In Washington, learning comes hard. Officials may know when to back off when they’ve crossed wires with Congress, but in most cases, and in less time than you’d think, they’re back at it again.
Take the State Department’s rush three years ago to seal a civilian nuclear deal with Vietnam. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the U.S. had initialed a draft agreement in July of 2010. It featured nuclear-nonproliferation provisions far looser than what Congress wanted. When the Hill found out, it threw a fit, the White House withdrew the deal, and State promised to lead a government-wide review of U.S. nonproliferation policies.
That was 33 months ago. Last September, State completed the review and forwarded its recommendations to the White House. The president has yet to focus on them. Instead he’s gotten excited about promoting U.S. nuclear-reactor exports to — you guessed it — Vietnam.
Last month he sent a U.S. nuclear-export delegation to Hanoi. It included the White House director for nuclear-energy policy, the under secretary of commerce, the assistant secretary of energy for nuclear energy, and 18 nuclear-industry representatives. Their mission: to persuade Vietnam to buy Westinghouse reactors. Continue reading
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