News In Brief

Vietnam's nuclear reactor refurbished by the Soviets

Vietnam rejoined the nuclear club when its single nuclear reactor, originally donated by the United States and now refurbished by the Soviets, went back into service late last month, reports Monitor contributor Paul Quinn-Judge. The reactor is in the hill resort town of Dalat, 150 miles northeast of Ho Chi Minh City.

Built in 1963, it was rendered inoperable - US technicians reportedly removed its fuel rods - early in 1975 as the last ally of the US, Nguyen Van Thieu, was collapsing. The reactor, the party newspaper Nhan Dan says, has been so comprehensively overhauled and improved that it is virtually new.

The reactor will probably be used for research, but the Vietnamese are also seriously considering nuclear energy for some of their power needs.

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