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Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics

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ESEP 22:1-12 (2022)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esep00198

Ethics and risks in sustainable civilian nuclear energy development in Vietnam

Lakshmy Naidu, Ravichandran Moorthy*

Research Centre for History, Politics and International Affairs, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, 43600, Selangor, Malaysia
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Vietnam is a vibrant and emerging South East Asian economy. However, the country faces a challenging task in meeting rising energy demand and the need to securitize energy while addressing the negative environmental impact of fossil fuel utilization. Growing concerns about sustainable development have led Vietnam to develop civilian nuclear energy for electricity generation. Nuclear power is widely recognized as a clean, mature and reliable energy source. Its inclusion in Vietnam’s energy mix by 2030 is expected to supplement other energy sources from fossil fuel, hydropower plants, renewable resources and energy imports. Despite strong reservations in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, Vietnam has pursued its national nuclearization program. Civilian nuclear energy development has been widely regarded as a controversial issue, although it is intended for peaceful purposes and as a solution for long-term energy security. Anxiety over nuclear safety measures, inadequate nuclear regulatory mechanisms, lack of institutionalized radioactive waste management, the threat of nuclear accident, theft and terrorism, and nuclear proliferation have marred public perception. The apprehension towards nuclear energy development has raised serious questions on the ethics and risks of the technology. Using a qualitative approach of reviewing published scholarly research, we investigated the ethical and risk issues that manifest in civilian nuclear energy development in Vietnam. Our findings reveal that the conundrum of civilian nuclear energy revolves around balancing energy security, environment preservation and societal well-being with ethical and risk predicaments of nuclear energy.


KEY WORDS: Vietnam · Civilian nuclear program · Sustainable energy · Ethics · Risks


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Cite this article as: Naidu L, Moorthy R (2022) Ethics and risks in sustainable civilian nuclear energy development in Vietnam. Ethics Sci Environ Polit 22:1-12. https://doi.org/10.3354/esep00198

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