Primary work of nuclear power plant in Bangladesh to begin in Sept

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Primary work of nuclear power plant in Bangladesh to begin in Sept

Primary work of nuke power plant to begin in Sept


The government will start civil construction work on the Rooppur nuclear power plant in Pabna by September this year, Science and Technology Minister Yeafesh Osman said yesterday.

The main construction work will begin in 2015, with power generation expected to start from 2020, he said.

“The IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] will oversee the safety measures at each level of installation. And Russia has assured us of ensuring safety of the project,” said Osman.

The minister spoke at a discussion organised by Forum for Energy Reporters Bangladesh at the auditorium of Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission.

During Prime Minister's Moscow visit early this month, Bangladesh and Russia inked an agreement to finance the preparatory works for setting up a 2,000megawatt nuclear power plant, he said.

He said the cost of setting up a nuclear plant varies from country to country, but was reluctant to disclose a figure. “We hope our cost will be lower than any other projects in the region,” said the minister.

But the electricity generation cost will be higher than that of the hydro power project but one-third of the coal-fired power plant, he added.

Under the deal, Bangladesh will get $500 million loan at LIBOR (London Interbank Offer Rate)+ 1 percent rate from Russia, for design, infrastructure development and training of the plant's personnel.

Local and international organisations will conduct a total of 62 tests for the preparatory works -- site design and construction -- to be completed by the end of 2014, said Osman. Of the total, local experts will perform 26 tests, he added.

The minister said the country's first-ever nuclear power plant will have all types of safety measures, which will protect the plant from all natural calamities.

The Russian government will provide fuel for the plant and take back the radioactive wastes of the reactor, as per the agreement. Responding to a question, the minister said the project will not be affected by government changeover.

Osman said a separate company will be formed to build and operate the project.

Meanwhile, four officials of Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission made presentations on different aspects -- infrastructure, technical and legal -- of the proposed project.

The BAEC officials said about 19 infrastructure issues have been identified that need to be addressed as per recommendations of the IAEA and Russia.

The project's director Mohammad Shawkat Akbar said Bangladesh has completed the first phase and achieved most of the second phase of the three milestones set by the IAEA.

A total of 438 nuclear power projects are in operation and 63 are at the under-construction stage across the world, he said.

Russia will ensure all-out safety of the plant in Bangladesh as they will provide the latest technology, he said.

Akbar said about 1,660 people will be required for the proposed plant, and the government has taken different steps to create the required manpower in the next five years. As the vendor country, Russia will provide training, as well.

M Ali Zulquarnain, an official of BAEC, said fuel consumption of a nuclear power plant is very low in comparison to a coal-based plant.

For example, a coal-based power plant with a capacity of 1,000MW requires about three million tonnes of coals, while a nuclear power plant needs only 25 tonnes of nuclear fuel a year, he said.

Rahman Samina, a BAEC director, said a regulatory authority will be created under the newly enacted Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Act 2012 to oversee and regulate every activities of the proposed nuclear power plant.

Md Monirul Islam, a member of BAEC, said the project will require 260 acres of land for the plant site and 33 acres for housing purposes.

The plant is expected to be in operation for 60 years, with the option to extend by another 20 years.

Science and Technology Secretary Rafiqul Islam and BAEC Chairman SM Firoz also spoke.