Vietnam says it will delay the construction of its first nuclear power plant by six years amid concerns over its safety and efficiency.

Faced with increasing power demands, Vietnam badly needs to develop new power sources as its domestic coal and hydropower production is levelling off. Construction of the first plant in central Vietnam was originally slated to start this year.

However, Tuoi Tre newspaper on Thursday quoted Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung as telling a government conference that construction will probably have to be postponed until 2020 to ensure the highest safety and efficiency standards.

Vietnam has outlined plans to build seven nuclear power plants by 2030, but there have been fears over nuclear power technology following the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan.