A committee comprising members from Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC), Power Grid Company of Bangladesh Limited and the Public Works Department has completed some of the initial preparation regarding the project, said Science and Technology Minister Yeafesh Osman.
The committee has sought International Atomic Energy Agency’s opinion on the sites for the power plant, the minister told the Dhaka Tribune.
Of the eight sites, four are in Khulna, close to the Sundarbans, and the other four are at Mazher Char in Barguna, Gangamati in Patuakhali, Boyar Char in Noakhali and Muhurir Char in Feni.
Once the site is finalised and an elaborate feasibility study is conducted, the power generation capacity of the nuclear plant will be fixed.
The state-owned BAEC is working on the project, Osman said.
“Highest safety standards will be maintained and it will be ensured that no harm comes to the environment and natural biodiversity in and around the new nuclear power plant,” the minister added.
BAEC started the project following a directive by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2014 to set up a second nuclear power plant in the south.
Sources at the Ministry of Science and Technology said nuclear power is reliable and cheaper; it is possible to produce more than 2,000kWh of electricity from just one gram of uranium-235, whereas to produce the same amount of power, several tonnes of coal are needed.
A BAEC official said unlike Rooppur nuclear power plant, the second plant will use saline water for cooling.
The government selected the southern region for the second nuclear power plant for the availibility of water and land there, the official said, requesting anonymity.
The BAEC is having discussions with Japan regarding the implementation of the project, he further said.
South Korea and China have also shown interest in the project, he added.
Bangladesh signed a general contract with Russia on December 25 last year for the construction and commissioning of the country’s first nuclear power plant at Rooppur in Pabna at the cost of $12.65 billion.
The BAEC, under the Ministry of Science and Technology, is in charge of implementing this project as well.
Bangladesh expects to add 2,400MW of electricity to the national grid by 2023 from Rooppur power plant.