Vietnam's use of radio-active technology has created huge growth in agriculture, medicine, oil and gas production and other industries, said Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Tran Viet Thanh.

"We have earned 3 billion USD in revenue from rice production using high-growth genetically modified varieties in the Mekong Delta region since 1990. More than 50 genetically modified varieties of rice and plants were grown on 50 percent of the country's farm area, 30 percent of which was exportable rice grown on one million hectares of the Mekong Delta," Thanh told a meeting titled National Conference on Atomic Energy Applications for the Socio-Economic Development on October 23.

Thanh said Vietnam was among the top eight countries in the world using atomic energy applications, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Andrey Rozhkov, Head of United Corporation for Innovations' Sales Department, an enterprise run by Russia's Rosatom State Corporation, said Vietnam was a Southeast Asian market primed to take advantage of such applications.

"Vietnam is a developing country and atomic energy can be used for economic growth and industrialisation. Vietnam and Russia can promote deeper cooperation on atomic and nuclear energy industry and research. Russia has a strong base in nuclear energy, and Vietnam and Russia enjoy a longstanding relationship," Rozhkov said.

Tamikazu Kume, a technical consultant with Japan's Nuclear Safety Research Association, suggested that Vietnam invest more in research and human-resource training in nuclear energy and atomic applications.

"Many industries can benefit from nuclear energy, such as seafood for export, agriculture, medicine and energy. Vietnam's rapid development needs a huge support base and application of atomic energy," he said.

In Vietnam, medical treatment and food preservation industries are the biggest users of atomic energy. Vietnam ranks second in the world in the use of atomic energy to preserve food - about 66,000 tonnes of foodstuffs and post-harvest products.

Nguyen Huu Quang, Director of the Centre for Applications of Nuclear Technique in Industry (CANTI), said Vietnam had sped up research and application of atomic energy.

"Since 2007, we've used research to produce a computed tomography system and an automatic gamma column scanner and monitor," Quang said. He added that the centre now exports the equipment to Thailand, Malaysia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Bangladesh.

The two-day conference features the latest atomic energy research and its application in agriculture, nuclear power plants, and in medical treatment projects with the Republic of Korea, Thailand and Japan.

Vietnam has now approved investment for the Ninh Thuan nuclear power project and a "Master Plan for Development and Application of Atomic Energy for Peaceful Purposes". Both have been approved by the Government to promote the atomic era.-VNA