Vietnam has urged South-east Asian countries to consider use of nuclear power for peaceful purposes as Asia’s energy needs keep growing.

The countries should promote cooperation on planning and energy policy to ensure security of energy supply and demand, extraction and conversion, and transport and distribution of oil and gas according to Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

At the opening speech at the Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting, Dung urged members to consider cooperation on nuclear energy for peaceful purposes such as an alternative source of low-carbon and sustainable energy.

ASEAN needs to step up research and promote projects on a regional power grid and a trans-ASEAN gas pipeline to ensure support on electricity, oil and gas in the bloc, according to Dung.

Several countries in the ASEAN such as Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia intend to build or are moving forward with building nuclear power plants to deal with power shortages.

Vietnam is expected to sign a nuclear power pact with Japan and also plans to build its first nuclear power plant in 2014 using Russian technology.

Recently, Russia proposed to assist South-east Asian countries in building nuclear power plants and developing its use.