Russia signs deal to build Vietnam’s first nuclear power plant

Russia and Vietnam have cemented their relations by signing a deal to construct Vietnam’s first ever nuclear power station.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who traveled to the Vietnamese capital Hanoi for the ASEAN summit, said the plant will allow the country to boost its strength and independence.

“If we reach the goals we’ve set, this power plant will account for a great share of Vietnam’s energy market and will allow it to develop as a modern state that not only produces and processes oil, but also uses other energy sources, which is very important in today’s world,” Medvedev said at a news conference in Hanoi after the signing of the agreement.

The deal is said to be worth over US$5 billion and will significantly increase Vietnam’s energy sector, which it needs to modernize in order to secure its rapid growth.

“The country is actively developing in terms of construction, organization of economy, fortification of defense and security, and also solving social issues,” Medvedev pointed out. “In all these areas Russia will assist Vietnam, which is our close friend.”

Watch Dmitry Medvedev's full press conference in Vietnam

Both sides hailed the deal as confirmation of Russia and Vietnam’s friendship and cooperation.

“Today’s signing of an agreement on the construction of an atomic power plant in Vietnam demonstrates the special ties we have with Russia, and of course the deal indicates the confidence which Vietnam has in Russia’s technology,” Vietnam’s President Nguyen Minh Triet said. “We will also continue to work together in the oil and gas industry, both in Russia and in Vietnam.”

The sides also discussed a deal to build a hydro power station in the country, as well as possibilities for more economic investment from Russia, and cooperation in science and technology, defense and intelligence.

According to Dmitry Streltsov, an Asia expert at Moscow State University of International Relations, the deal is mutually beneficial: Vietnam is working to gain energy independence, while Russia is seeking to reaffirm its presence in the region.

The agreement… was struck in sharp competition with other countries, and the fact that Vietnam preferred Russia shows that that there is a revival of a sort of trust relations between our two countries,” Streltsov said.

Watch the full interview with Dmitry Streltsov