- Bangladesh plans to produce 2000MW of electricity by 2023 and another 4000MW by 2030; the plan for setting up the country’s first-ever nuclear power plant was initiated in 1961;
- The estimated cost of the proposed plant at Rooppur in Ishwardi upazila of Pabna district is set $1.5-2bn; The first phase (1000MW) of the project will be completed by 2017;
- Three million people residing within a radius of 30km of the plant near a river;
- Civil construction likely to begin in September this year;
- Russian State Atomic Energy Commission (ROSATOM) will build the plant, provide fuel throughout the entire life-span of the power plant, and take the waste away;
- According to the “self-evaluation report” submitted by Bangladesh to the International Atomic Energy Agency in the middle of 2012, the two nuclear reactors will be of VVER-1000 design. This is a water-cooled and water-moderated reactor reportedly devised in the late 1970s;
- The tenure of the plant will be 60 years and may be extended by another 20 years;
- The Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) will be implementing the plant and plans to recruit 1,660 people, including some 500 scientists and engineers;
- The government says it is working as per the guidelines of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA);
- An independent nuclear regulatory authority, Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority, has been formed to work closely with ROSATOM and IAEA;
- ATOMSTROYEXPORT will conduct 63 tests at the site, 26 of them will be conduct by Bangladeshis.
- The consultancy firm’s task would be doing the pre-construction work for setting up the plant that involves feasibility evaluation (FE), environment impact assessment (EIA), development and engineering survey, development of the comprehensive programme of engineering survey, anthropogenic conditions at the project area and site, engineering and hydro-meteorological survey, engineering and geodetic survey, seismological and seismic-tectonic studies, engineering and aero-meteorological survey, FE development, EIA development, pre-design works, engineering and geological survey and engineering survey, and environmental studies;
- ATOMSTROYEXPORT will have to complete the work in 18 months and the government will pay it $45.90m; 10% of the amount will be paid by the Bangladesh government to the Russian company, in advance, within 30 days of signing the agreement. The remaining would be paid under the Russian credit of $500m for the project;
- The government says at least 62 tests would be conducted for setting up the power plant, and;
- Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on May 29 said: “We will never compromise on the issues of safety. During my discussion with President Vladimir Putin, I requested him to give us the safest and the latest reactors. He has given me his assurance in this regard. Russia has also agreed to remove the spent fuel in reactors and take the waste back to their country safely.”
TIMELINE OF AGREEMENTS
June 2007: IAEA allows Bangladesh to install nuclear power plant
September 18, 2008: ECNEC approves project to conduct the mandatory research
May 13, 2009: Bangladesh and Russia sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU)
May 21, 2009: Framework agreement signed between the countries
August 1, 2011: Cabinet approves cooperation agreement
October 31, 2011: Bangladesh government gives nod to security and legal framework development cooperation agreement
November 2, 2011: ROSATOM and Bangladesh government sign the cooperation agreement
January 16, 2013: The two governments sign agreement on Extension of State Export Credit for Financing the Preparatory Stage Work on the plant. Under the agreement, Bangladesh will get $0.5bn loan for research and developing technical abilities for the project.
April 2, 2013: ECNEC approves Tk52.42bn (over $670m) for the first phase (1000MW) of the project, one-fourth of the amount will be provided by the Bangladesh government and the rest by Russian credit;
July 22, 2013: A 12-strong ROSATOM team visits Rooppur at noon with Bangladesh officials. A 200-member team will start ground work in the first week of August.
Project Director Dr Mohammad Shawkat Akbar, also a director of BAEC, office- 8120343, mobile- 01715012416
Nuclear accidents tend to get a lot of media coverage. Rightly so. But how many have died from big accidents?
•Chernobyl — 56 deaths from direct exposure and up to 4,000 fatal cancers could result from the exposure: UN. Others put the number much higher.
•Three Mile Island — never conclusively linked to any deaths or health effects.
NASA said despite major accidents, nuclear power prevented an average of over 1.8 million net deaths worldwide between 1971-2009.
BUT…Do we want another Chernobyl? Can we take the chance? Do we want radioactive waste hanging around for 1,000s of years, possibly getting into our water?
“To meet the rising aspirations of our people, the supply of affordable clean energy will be one of our foremost national challenges. Nuclear energy will remain an essential and increasingly important element of our energy mix.” — Manmohan Singh
•44 new reactors slated for construction or being built
•India wants to generate 470GW by 2050, more then entire world can produce now.
Sources: Local newspapers and DW Akademie