Vietnam, Japan nuclear project intact despite Fukushima

TOKYO Mon Oct 31, 2011 10:24am EDT

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TOKYO Oct 31 (Reuters) - Japan and Vietnam on Monday reaffirmed their plan to build a nuclear power plant in the Southeast Asian country using Japanese technology, even as Tokyo still struggles to put the world's worst nuclear accident in 25 years under control.

Last October, energy-hungry Vietnam accepted Japan as a partner in the construction of two nuclear reactors in Ninh Thuan province in central Vietnam.

But in March, a massive earthquake and tsunami knocked out the cooling functions at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, 240 km (150 miles) northeast of Tokyo, triggering fuel rod meltdowns, explosions and radiation leakage.

A joint statement, released after Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda met with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung, said Japan was committed to enhance nuclear safety by sharing lessons learnt from the Fukushima accident.

"The Vietnamese side, welcoming such Japan's efforts, ... expressed its strong desire for the provisions of nuclear technologies from Japan," the statement said.

"The Japanese side expressed its intention to provide Vietnam with the technologies that represent the world's highest level of nuclear safety," it added.

Exporting social infrastructure, such as high-speed railway systems and nuclear power generation systems, is a pillar of Japan's ruling Democratic Party's growth strategy.

But the Fukushima accident shattered the public's trust on the safety of nuclear power generation and raised doubt over such strategy.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Yoko Nishikawa)

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