The main phase of the construction of Rooppur power plant, the maiden nuclear power plant in Bangladesh, is set to begin on November 30, making the much-hyped project a reality.
“We are planning to pour the first batch of concrete to begin the main construction work on November 30. We are hoping that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will officially launch the construction work,” an official of the Ministry of Science and Technology told the Dhaka Tribune on Monday.
“This is a giant leap for the country as, through the beginning of the main phase of construction, we are entering the era of nuclear power generation,” the official further said, requesting to remain anonymous.
Government high-ups from Bangladesh and Russia, Bangladesh's partner in the project, will be present at the concrete pouring ceremony, he added.
State-run nuclear energy research and regulatory body Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission is in charge of implementing the project with financial, technical and technological support from Russia.
The project is expected to add 2,400MW of electricity to the national grid by 2024.
Bangladesh signed a general contract with Russia on December 25, 2015 for the construction and commissioning of the nuclear power plant in Rooppur upazila, Pabna near the Padma River.
The project is estimated to cost $12.65 billion, 90% of which will be provided by Russia on credit at the sum interest rate of 1.75% and Libor – London Interbank Offered Rate, the average of interest rates offered by leading banks in London, UK which is the global primary benchmark for short-term interest rates.
Bangladesh is required to pay the loan back over the period of 28 years with a 10-year grace period, according to the contract.
The main plant will have two units, each with power generation capacity of 1,200MW; the construction work is expected to be fully complete by December 2024.
Bangladesh has also signed an agreement with Russia to return the spent nuclear fuel from Rooppur nuclear power plant.