PM Hasina urges ROSATOM to set up another nuclear power plant at Rooppur

ROSATOM director general Alexey Likhachev calls on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her official residence, Ganabhaban, in Dhaka on 2 April, 2024
Courtesy Rosatom

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called upon the Russian state-run ROSATOM to set up another nuclear power plant at Rooppur, if there is any scope for that.

The prime minister made the request when ROSATOM director general Alexey Likhachev called on her at her official residence, Ganabhaban, in the capital Tuesday.

Briefing the newspersons after the meeting, prime minister’s speech writer Md Nazrul Islam said that Sheikh Hasina asked them to go for constructing new plants on the site of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP) after completion of the ongoing project.

She also pointed out that a technical survey needs to be conducted at the initial stage for setting up two new units.

The prime minister directed the relevant authorities to complete all the formalities of taking back the “Spent Nuclear Fuel” of first and second units of RNPP to the Russian Federation.

In reply, the ROSATOM director general gave assurance, on behalf of the Russian government, regarding the return of the Spent Nuclear Fuel produced by the first and second units to the Russian Federation.

He also promised to complete all the formalities for the return of the Spent Nuclear Fuel to the Russian Federation on time as per the instructions of the prime minister.

The Bangladesh government and the Russian Federation government have already signed an inter-state agreement regarding the return of the Spent Nuclear Fuel of RNPP to the Russian Federation.

Sheikh Hasina thanked Russia for building energy security especially setting up this nuclear power plant in Bangladesh.

She said that it was the dream of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to set up a nuclear power plant in Bangladesh, and it is being implemented and she thanked Russia for this.

Sheikh Hasina recalled the assistance of Russia in 1971 during the War of Liberation of Bangladesh and helped the country in its rebuilding process after the war.

The prime minister also greeted Russian president Vladimir Putin on his reelection.

Alexey Likhachev apprised the Prime Minister about the advancement of the RNPP and said by 2025, the RNPP will come into production and will be able to supplement electricity to the national grid.

He also said that 85 per cent works of the RNPP have been completed.

The ROSATOM director general also proposed to the government to build two new nuclear power units (Unit-3 and Unit-4) in RNPP area.

He said the construction of the new Unit-3 and Unit-4 should be started as soon as the construction of the first two units is completed.

In this context, Alexey Likhachev also said that the expansion of existing nuclear power projects is more profitable and reasonable from the financial point of view and in the light of technical and nuclear safety which is considered internationally.

He said that some 2500 staff, including Bangladeshi and Russians, have been working in the project who gained their expertise.

The prime minister asked the ROSATOM director general to utilise the Bangladeshi expertise in nuclear power plant construction projects in different countries.

Alexey Likhachev said that due to the pandemic and sanctions there were obstacles, but the work was carried out at the normal pace.

The prime minister said that the obstacles were avoided technically.

Science and technology minister architect Yeafesh Osman, PM’s principal secretary M Tofazzel Hossain Miah and science and technology secretary Md. Ali Hossain, among others, were present.

At present, the construction work of two units (1200 x 2 = 2400 MW) each having a capacity of 1200 MW in the RNPP area is in the final stage.

The physical start-up of the first unit will begin in December this year, while commercial power generation will start in 2025 and 2026 from Unit-1 and Unit-2 respectively.