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​Great amount of coal ash remains unhandled at Vietnam’s major thermal power complex 

Friday, June 29, 2018, 15:12 GMT+7
​Great amount of coal ash remains unhandled at Vietnam’s major thermal power complex 
The field storing bottom ash is seen at the Vinh Tan 2 Thermal Power Station in Binh Thuan Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

An enormous amount of ash is not being dealt with at a thermal power plant complex central to Vietnam’s energy needs, while several related problems at the plant remain unsolved.

Nearly four million cubic meters of bottom ash is being stored and awaiting use at the Vinh Tan 2 Power Station, an element of a 6,300-megawatt complex of five coal-fired power plants, three of which have already been put into operation.

The layer of the ash is now too thick, according to Nguyen Ngoc Hai – chairman of the administration in south-central Vietnamese province of Binh Thuan, where the stations are located.

The reason is that Singapore-based MaiXanh (Forever Green) Group, which solely signed a contract of utilizing clinker from the complex during the system’s entire lifetime to produce concrete masonry units, has been unable to install more ash equipment here as it is suffering from a dented profit, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

The firm’s concrete masonry units are failing to compete with standard clay bricks in price, the ministry added.

This bottom ash abundance has prompted the body to order the power plant management to seek more investors in using the byproduct in order to preempt a monopoly for the ash handling.

The field storing bottom ash is seen at the Vinh Tan 2 Thermal Power Station in Binh Thuan Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre
The field storing bottom ash is seen at the Vinh Tan 2 Thermal Power Station in Binh Thuan Province, south-central Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A truck carries ash from the Vinh Tan Thermal Power Plant Complex in Binh Thuan Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A truck carries ash from the Vinh Tan Thermal Power Plant Complex in Binh Thuan Province, south-central Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Meanwhile, the power plant complex also faces some as yet unaddressed issues.

The digging of a ditch intended to divert mountainside runoff away from the ash-storing field and protect the area has not been finished, while Binh Thuan is entering a period of rain and typhoons, chairman Hai said.

A report on the environmental impact of the plants, expected to be completed by June, has yet to be submitted, Ho Lam – director of the local Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

The Vinh Tan Thermal Power Plant Complex is a national pivotal project of special economic significance, according to Le Van Danh, deputy director of state-controlled Power Generation Corporation 3.

This is why Danh suggested that the Ministry of Public Security have designated the system as a zone of special security protection.

That opinion was echoed by Hai, who supposed that the faculties sit in a highly sensitive location without clarifying the sensitivity.

Towering stacks of the Vinh Tan Thermal Power Plant Complex are seen in Binh Thuan Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Towering stacks of the Vinh Tan Thermal Power Plant Complex are seen in Binh Thuan Province, south-central Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Despite this, the cost of the operation is being born by local residents .

Late last year, trees and crops grown by locals died wholesale as the arable land around the Vinh Tan 2 Power Station was submerged due to the presence of its ash field and adversely affected by excessive salt content because of water used on the field.

A man stands by a plot of water-logged land in Binh Thuan Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A man stands by a plot of water-logged land in Binh Thuan Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

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Thai Xuan / Tuoi Tre News

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