VietNamNet Bridge – An observing station of the Vietnam Atomic Energy Institute has discovered some artificial radioactive isotopes in the northern province of Lang Son and the Central Highlands city of Da Lat, but as the content is very limited, it poses no health hazards.
“The observing station based in Lang Son detected some artificial radioactive isotopes in the air but the content is very limited so it is not dangerous to human,” a report by the Ministry of Science and Technology on March 29 wrote.
Normally, there are natural radioactive isotopes in the air, which come from the soil or space but the newly-discovered radioactive isotopes are different.
The observing station in Da Lat also recorded artificial radioactive isotopes I-131 at very low level.
According to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), stations based in Europe only discover I-131 radioactive isotopes.
Dr. Dang Thanh Luong, vice head of the Radioactive Nuclear Safety Agency, said that the content of radioactive isotopes I-131 in Lang Son and Da Lat is hundreds of thousands of times less than the threshold and it is harmless for human and the environment.
He said that the I-131 isotopes might just come from radioactive leaks at Fukushima nuclear plant number 1 in Japan.
The Ministry of Science and Technology also said that radioactive isotopes detected in Vietnamese atmosphere are around 500,000 times below the country’s danger level.
It is only a health hazard when humans are exposed to over 1 millisievert a year averaged over five years, and to more than 5 millisieverts in one year alone, according to the Vietnamese standards. The I-131 radioactive concentrations in Vietnam measured 24,2 x 10 -6 Bq/m3, meaning it poses no harm to human beings.
The radioactive substances will disintegrate in eight days, according to Dr. Nguyen Huu Nghia, head of the Military Institute for Radioactive Medicine and Tumor.
Japanese nuclear plant offers lessons
Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan admitted that Vietnam is determined to go ahead with the building of nuclear power plants in the central coast province of Ninh Thuan.
Nhan told the National Assembly deputies on March 29 that the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant was a precious lesson for Vietnam.
He said that since the adoption of Resolution No 41 by the National Assembly in 2009 on guidelines to build the nuclear power plant in Ninh Thuan, the government had issued five legal documents guiding the implementation of the Law on Nuclear Power.
The Prime Minister has decided to establish the Ninh Thuan Nuclear Power Project Steering Committee with a Deputy Prime Minister as the director and representatives from various ministries, sectors and Ninh Thuan province as project members.
An Inter-governmental Joint Committee on the building of the Ninh Thuan Nuclear plant No 1 between Viet Nam and the Russian Federation was signed on October 31, 2010. Preparations for the construction of the plant had been ongoing since then, including a credit agreement with Russia.
For the second nuclear plant, negotiations between Vietnam and Japan were underway, including a credit agreement to build the plant from Japan.
The construction sites of the two plants had been approved by the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
A feasibility report on the construction of the Ninh Thuan No.1 Reactor is currently being drafted.
For the second plant, the Japanese Government had agreed to provide $25 million in the form of non-refundable aid to compile project documentation.
Electricity of Viet Nam (EVN) was confirmed as the project owner of the two nuclear plants.
The EVN had consulted with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on the safety of the plants.
Vietnam had also sent students abroad to study nuclear energy in Russia, Japan, South Korea and France.
Construction on the first nuclear plant would begin in December 2014 and the first nuclear reactor would generate electricity in 2020, with the second going online the following year.
For the second nuclear plant, construction was slated for May 2015 and the first nuclear reactor would generate electricity in 2021, with the second reactor going into commission in 2022.
"Site selection for the nuclear plants and the technology have been and would thoroughly be considered, including the case of extreme weather conditions as earthquakes, tsunamis or plane crashes," said Nhan.