Overview of Vietnam laws on nuclear energy

 Date: 13 October 2021

Writers: Linh Nguyen

Nowadays, as fossil energy sources (such as coal, oil, etc.) become depleted, people are faced with the challenge of developing new energy sources to replace them. Nuclear energy is a potential solution to reduce climate change, environmental pollution, ensure sustainable development. Vietnam has developed and promulgated an atomic energy legal system to create a legal framework for the safe and efficient development of nuclear power. BLawyers Vietnam will present briefly on Vietnam laws regarding nuclear energy as below:

1. Nuclear energy and nuclear power plants

Nuclear or atomic energy is the energy from the transformation of atomic nuclei, including fission energy, fusion energy, and energy released from radioactive decay. It is a kind of energy of ionizing electromagnetic waves or accelerated panicles.

A nuclear power plant is a complex made up of one or more nuclear power units, a substation system that transmits electricity to the grid, and storage, circulation, and treatment of radioactive substances that are all located in the same place and are directly related to the operation of that nuclear power plant.

2. Nuclear energy under Vietnam laws

a. Domestic laws

National Assembly of Vietnam passed Law on Atomic Energy on 03 June 2008 and officially took it effect on 01 January 2009. It is the first specialized law to govern atomic energy, especially on nuclear reactors and nuclear power plants. Accordingly, activities in the field of atomic energy, as well as ensuring radiation safety, nuclear safety, and the security of radioactive sources, nuclear materials, and nuclear equipment, must comply with the provisions of this Law and other applicable laws.

Having followed that, a series of other guiding documents were issued, such as Decree No. 07/2010/ND-CP dated 25 January 2010 detailing and guiding several articles of the Law on Atomic Energy, Decree No. 70/2010/ND-CP dated 22 June 2010 detailing and guiding several articles of the Law on Atomic Energy on nuclear powerplants, etc.

According to the provisions of law, nuclear power plants are on the list of important national security works. They must be specially protected and safe during the surveying, designing, building, operating, and management processes in accordance with the law on the protection of important national security works.

Investment in nuclear power plants must be consistent with the national power development plan and other related plans. All activities related to investment in the construction, operation, and termination of nuclear power plant operations must meet the strictest safety and security standards. The investment in nuclear power plant construction and operation must achieve economic efficiency, contribute to socio-economic development, minimize environmental impacts, and improve and enhance the living standards of the population in the area where the nuclear power plant is located.

b. International treaties that Vietnam is a signatory members

Vietnam has entered international treaties regarding nuclear energy such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty 1982; the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident 1987; the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons; the Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Agency IAEA 1967; the Convention on Nuclear Safety 2010; the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management 2013. These are very important and fundamental international treaties when Vietnam implements nuclear power development.

3. Nuclear power plant projects in Vietnam

Vietnam has investigated and chosen two nuclear power plant construction sites in Phuoc Dinh Ward and Vinh Hai Ward (Ninh Thuan Province). Based on Resolution No. 18-NQ/TW dated 25 October 2007 on the National Energy Strategy to 2020 with a vision to 2050, the Politburo of the Communist Party and the Central Committee of the Communist Party approved the policy of investment and construction of the Ninh Thuan Nuclear Power Plant in September 2009. In November 2009, National Assembly of Vietnam approved the Ninh Thuan Nuclear Power Plant’s investment policy.

Due to the change in Vietnam’s economic development situation since the project investment decision, the National Assembly decided in Resolution No. 31/2016/QH14 dated 22 November 2016 to stop implementing the investment policy of Ninh Thuan Nuclear Power Plant.

Should you have any questions about the above contents, please revert to BLawyers Vietnam at consult@blawyersvn.com. We are more than happy to hear from you!

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