Bangladesh has agreed in principle to allow India to supply non-nuclear components, including turbines, for Rooppur nuclear power plant and manpower for its construction.
Two contracts –– one involving Bangladesh, Russia and India and the other between Russia and India –– are likely to be signed by December in this regard, said officials.
The contract documents have already been finalised and would be signed
soon, science and technology minister Yeafesh Osman told New Age on Tuesday.
The bilateral contract between Russia and India would allow India to supply some components, like turbines, for the power plant while the trilateral agreement would enable Russia and Bangladesh to obtain third-party services from India, he said.
‘We are mainly interested in India’s experience in constructing and regulating nuclear power plants built on Russian technology,’ he added.
The non-nuclear components include a set of components –– coolants, turbines, generators –– for converting heat energy into electric energy, officials said.
The nuclear components include a set of components namely fuel, moderators, control rods and shielding associated with the nuclear reactor, they said.
Bangladesh is implementing its maiden nuclear power project with generation 3+ Russian Water-Water Energetic Reactors or VVER technology.
On November 30, prime minister Sheikh Hasina poured the first concrete of a VVER-1200 reactor unit to be set up at Rooppur in Pabna. The pouring of first concrete for another VVER-1200 reactor unit is scheduled for 2018.
Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission engaged Russia’s state-run Atomstroyexport as contractor for building the two-unit nuclear power plant with a total 2,400MW capacity under an intergovernmental agreement with Russia.
Expert in nuclear technology Shaheed Hossain, also former scientific officer of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said that there was no problem if India supplied non-nuclear components of the power plant.
India would not supply nuclear components as it was not a recognised supplier, he said, adding that Russia might use India’s manpower in constructing the power plant as the country had already gathered experience through the construction of a VVER-1000 reactor.
VVER-1000 reactor installed at Kudankulam in India is similar to the VVER-1200 reactors to be installed at Rooppur, he explained.
Bangladesh can use India’s experience in installing nuclear power plants as India has already installed one with the VVER technology and installation of six units is underway, said former Atomic Energy Commission chairman MA Quaiyum.
The 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 and the other by 2023.
On April 8, 2017, during a visit of Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina to India, the two countries signed three deals –– Cooperation in Peaceful uses of Nuclear Energy, Exchange of Technical Information and Cooperation in the Regulation of Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection and Cooperation regarding Nuclear Power Plant Projects in Bangladesh.
On September 20, India’s Atomic Energy Commission chairman Shekhar Basu told the 61st general conference of International Atomic Energy Agency that India was collaborating with Russia to build the Rooppur nuclear power plant in Bangladesh, the first initiative under an Indo-Russia deal to undertake atomic energy projects in third countries, according to a report of India’s state news agency PTI.
His remarks raised questions in India about how far it would involve in building the Rooppur nuclear power plant as the country was not a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a 48-member grouping controlling the export of materials, equipment and technology to be used to manufacture nuclear infrastructures, according to the PTI news.
Russia and India in December 2014 signed an agreement titled ‘Strategic Vision for Strengthening Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy’ between the two countries.
The PTI news also mentioned that India and Russia would explore opportunities for sourcing materials, equipment and services from Indian industry for the construction of the Russia-designed nuclear power plants in third countries.
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