In coming years, Vietnam plans greater emphasis on expanding its cancer prevention and treatment capabilities, and in getting ready to introduce nuclear power for electricity generation. Senior national officials met with IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei in Hanoi earlier this month to review prime areas of cooperation.
While the highest percentage of nuclear electricity generation is in North America and Europe, recent expansion has been most heavily centred in Asia, where the Republic of Korea, Japan, China, India and Pakistan are among countries already operating nuclear power plants. "In the near future, we may well see additional countries in the Asia-Pacific region choosing the nuclear power option," Dr. ElBaradei said, citing Vietnam and Indonesia as countries that have expressed interest to the IAEA. Vietnam´s energy requirements are rising fast, notably in the electricity sector where demand is increasing at about 15% a year.
Through its technical cooperation and research programmes, the IAEA supports projects in Vietnam in various areas of nuclear science and technology. They include energy studies and planning, industrial nuclear applications, radioactive waste management, nuclear legislation and regulation, nuclear medicine and radiotherapy, and nuclear applications to improve food production. Regarding cancer care and treatment, Vietnam plans an intensified approach, and is targeted for support through the IAEA-backed global initiative called PACT.
On the nuclear safeguards front, Vietnam´s Foreign Ministry announced last week that the country intended to sign the additional protocol to its safeguards agreement with the IAEA. The safeguards agreement was concluded pursuant to Vietnam´s obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
During his visit, Dr. ElBaradei met leaders including Mr. Hoang Van Phong, Minister of Science and Technology; Madam Tran Thi Trung Chien, Minister of Health; Mr. Le Van Bang, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs; Mr. Do Huu Hao, Vice-Minister for Industry; and Mr. Vuong Huu Tan, Chairman of the Vietnam Atomic Energy Commission.