IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano made an official visit to Vietnam from 7 to 11 January 2014.
The main focus of the visit was Vietnam's preparations to launch a national nuclear power programme in the coming years. Vietnam is one of the most advanced countries planning to add nuclear power to their national energy mix. The Director General met senior officials involved in the programme and also visited the proposed site for the first nuclear power reactor in Ninh Thuan.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng told the Director General that nuclear technology had a significant role to play in sustainable development. He said Vietnam had embarked on a nuclear power programme to address its energy needs and was continuing to use nuclear applications in the areas of health and agriculture. Vietnam attached great importance to ensuring maximum safety and security for its nuclear programme.
The Director General said he was impressed by the strong commitment he had seen at all levels to ensure that Vietnam's nuclear power programme would be conducted to the highest safety standards. The IAEA would remain a reliable partner for Vietnam in helping to ensure that its nuclear power programme was safe, secure and sustainable, and in nuclear applications. He encouraged Vietnam to continue its work to establish a robust, independent nuclear regulator, and to ensure effective cooperation among all stakeholders in this important, complex project.
During his stay in Vietnam, Director General Amano had meetings with the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister and the Minister of Science and Technology. He also held discussions with senior officials of Vietnam's Agency for Radiation and Nuclear Safety and Control, the Vietnam Atomic Energy Agency and Vietnam Electricity.
The Director General visited the Centre for Nuclear Medicine and Oncology at Bach Mai Hospital, where he was briefed on Vietnam's work to strengthen its national cancer diagnosis and treatment facilities. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Vietnam, with around 130 000 new cancer cases recorded each year. Due to a lack of equipment and trained personnel, only around a tenth of patients who need radiotherapy actually receive it.
Vietnam is a model demonstration site for the Agency's Programme of Action For Cancer Therapy (PACT). The Director General saw some of the radiotherapy equipment provided through Agency programmes and met some of the 20 health professionals from Vietnam who have received training through the IAEA on aspects of cancer control.