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Vietnam introduces dam safety draft legislation

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Hydropower project owners and operators will soon face penalties for not conducting routine safety inspections if a new piece of draft legislation is approved, sources have reported.

HydroWorld.com reported that Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung called for improvements to the country's dam safety protocol in January -- partially in response to several incidents and concerns associated with Vietnamese hydroelectric plants in 2012.

According to Vietnamese sources, previous regulations applied sanctions only in instances of improper reservoir operation while other violations resulted in reprimands only.

Now, owners and operators will be subject to a set of dam safety standards established by Vietnam's Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Penalties include fines up to about US$10,000 with the potential for operating licenses to be revoked if safety checks and repairs aren't completed.

The draft legislation also includes standards for energy efficiency, with penalties of up to $5,000 being assessed for the installation of obsolete or low-performing technologies. Operators will also face fines of up to $3,000 for failing to provide accurate information in energy audit reports.

The measures are expected to be submitted for approval in the second quarter of this year.

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