In the afternoon of March 05, 2013, in Hanoi Minister of Science and Technology (MOST) Nguyễn Quân met with the delegation of Japanese Nuclear Energy Safety Commission (JNES) led by Mr. Toshihiro BANNAI, Director of the Department of International Cooperation of Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA).
Mr. Toshihiro BANNAI said that within the joint cooperation framework between Vietnam and Japan on nuclear power development through Vietnam Agency for Radiation and Nuclear Safety (VARANS), JNES has cooperated on human resource training for Vietnamese regulation authorities. Japan has continued to fulfill its commitments to cooperate with Vietnam on human resource training and support Vietnam to develop this project. However, with lessons learnt withdrawn from the Fukushima incident, Japan hopes to carry out cooperation activities for the coming time in the most efficient and safest manner.
“After the Fukushima incident and lessons learnt, we have identified weakness in terms of capacities and experience of the regulation authority. Due to limited capacities of the regulation authority, we haven’t had policies as well as active support for power companies during the implementation of their safety systems”, Mr. Toshihiro BANNAI shared.
Therefore in September 2012, Japan’s regulation authority experienced significant changes in its organizational structure, meaning the regulation authority has been separated from the Ministry of Economics and Industry to become an independent regulation authority. Currently Japan has continued to improve capacities for staff of the regulation authority. By the time of next April, the function of inspection will be added to the regulation authority. Accordingly, the function of safety, security and inspection will be centralized in a regulation authority. .
Mr. Toshihiro BANNAI said that currently NRA with the human resource of more than 500 people, Japan has been continuing to improve capacities of the staff. Within the context of the cooperation and support for the regulation authority as well support for the establishment of legal and regulatory document system, although it has been faced with difficulties, it has a lot of meanings for the two nations. Japan would continue its cooperation with Vietnam on establishing a regulation authority which is strong enough, fulfill its functions and roles during the nuclear power development
In the meeting, Minister Nguyễn Quân expressed his thanks to JNES for its close cooperation with VARANS and support for VARANS to train some staff on the field of nuclear safety regulation.
The Minister said in 2012 within the framework of the visit to Japan, the Minister had the opportunity to visit a training course conducted by JNES to support Vietnam and the Vietnamese participants said the training quality met Vietnam’s needs. This has been of particular importance because during this stage Vietnam is preparing to build the first nuclear power plant with support from Russia and Japan. With its experience, JNES will certainly play an important role in cooperation with Vietnam.
Regarding the issue on nuclear safety regulation, Minister Nguyễn Quân affirmed that this should be the first issue the two Parties need to cooperate. After the Fukushima incident, Japan has understood the importance of the issue on safety regulation more than any countries. It is certain that Vietnam should study the lessons learnt and ensure the safety for Vietnam’s nuclear power plants. Therefore, Vietnam should soon study and amend the Law on Atomic Energy of Vietnam to be appropriate.
The Minister highly appreciated JNES’s efforts in cooperation with Vietnam on human resource training, development of the legal and regulatory system and other issues on Vietnam’s nuclear power. In the future, Vietnam needs more support from JNES, for example technology appraisal of nuclear power projects; issues relating to international treaties on nuclear safety and human resource training for Vietnam. Minister Nguyễn Quân expressed his hopes that through cooperation between VARANS and JNES, joint cooperation between the two countries would have good development. The nuclear power project in Vietnam would be successfully implemented.
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