Bangladesh on Thursday became the 32nd nation to start power generation from nuclear reactor as prime minister Sheikh Hasina poured the structural concrete of the country’s first nuclear reactor at Rooppur in Pabna.
Hasina poured the first structural concrete to the location where the first unit of the proposed two-unit nuclear power plant with Russia-built VVER-1200 reactors and 2,400MW combined power generation capacity would be constructed.
The country appeared the 3rd member in the South Asia and the 6th in Asia to start nuclear power generation, officials said.
They also said that Bangladesh was the 3rd nation to start nuclear power generation in three decades after Belarus and the United Arab Emirates.
Inaugurating the construction, the prime minister cancelled a commemorative stamp at a ceremonial programme.
She greeted the people of Bangladesh and thanked Russia’s president Vladimir Putin and his government for extending their supports in building the country’s first nuclear power plant.
The state-run Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission is implementing the nuclear power project at the cost of $13.21 billion with 90 per cent supplier’s credit from Russian Federation. The first unit of the two-unit nuclear power plant is expected to be commissioned by 2022 while the other by 2023.
The government had assigned highest level of priorities to ensure building the safest nuclear infrastructures and to ensure security of those infrastructures, Hasina said while addressing a gathering at the Rooppur project site.
Hasina also assured that the government was implementing the project following the milestone approach
and guidelines of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the global body to facilitate the nuclear infrastructures in different countries for peaceful use.
Addressing the gathering, the international agency director Dohee Hahn said that through the first concrete pouring, Bangladesh made a significant progress towards building the nuclear power plant.
Russia’s state-run atomic energy authority Rosatom director general Alexey Likhachev greeted Bangladesh for joining the nuclear world and said that they were using the safest VVER-1200 technology for the power plant.
He said that the Rooppur nuclear power project was a result of political commitment between the governments of Bangladesh and Russian Federation.
He expressed hope that the project would play vital role in the country’s development.
Science and technology minister Yeafesh Osman, prime minister’s economic affairs adviser Moshiur Rahman, energy adviser Towfique-e-Elahi Chowdhury, security adviser retired Major General Tariq Ahmed Siddiq, local lawmaker AFM Ruhal Haque, chief of army staff General Abu Belal Muhammad Shafiul Huq, prime minister’s principal secretary Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury, press secretary Ihsanul Karim, Russian ambassador to Bangladesh Alexander Ignatov and project director Md Shawkat Akbar attended the programme, among the others.
On November 4, Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission, the project implementation authorities, obtained a conditional licence from the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority for the pouring of the first structural concrete.
The commission will require further approval from the regulators for beginning the main construction of the reactor, said officials.
The regulators were hopeful of issuing the approval in March 2018.
Before issuance of the final approval, the regulators would examine the durability or sustainability of the site, liquefaction problem of the soil, engineering solution of the embankment of the River Padma to protect the integrity of the nuclear infrastructure, emergency response plan and physical protection preparedness of the power plant, said the officials.
The commission was also scheduled for the pouring of the first structural concrete for the second nuclear unit in 2018, they said.
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