Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina launched the main building phase of the country’s first nuclear plant on Thursday by pouring concrete at the construction site at Rooppur in Ishwardi, Pabna.
The long-awaited Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP) is expected to add 2,400MW of electricity to the national grid by 2024, helping Bangladesh meet its increasing demand for electricity.
The mega project is being implemented by the state-run Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) under the MInistry of Science and Technology, with financial, technical and technological support by Russia through its state nuclear agency, Rosatom.
Plans for the RNPP date back to November 2011, when Bangladesh signed an agreement with Rosatom to construct the nuclear plant. Under the deal, Russia agreed to provide all assistance for running the plant, including providing the fuel and taking back the radioactive waste for reprocessing.
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In January 2013, an inter-governmental agreement was signed for the provision of a $500 million Russian loan to finance engineering design, site development and personnel training.
In October of that year, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina laid the foundation stone after 262 acres of land had been acquired to set up two units of the plant.
On December 15, 2015, the government finalized the amount for the biggest-ever investment project in the country’s history by inking another agreement with Russia.
Ten days later, the Rosatom-appointed Russian contractor JSC Atomstroyexport and BAEC agreed a general contract for the construction of the plant, which was signed by BAEC Chairman Md Monirul Islam and Atomstroyexport Vice-President Vladimir N Savuskhin.
Rosatom will construct the power plant at a cost of $12.65 billion, broken down into $10.1 billion as a base price, $1 billion for soil stabilization and further costs, and $1.65 billion to allow for price escalation.
Also present at the concrete-pouring inauguration on Thursday were: Science and Technology Minister Yeafesh Osman; Chief of Army Staff General Abu Belal Muhammad Shafiul Huq; and the prime minister’s Principal Secretary Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury, Economic Affairs Adviser Dr Moshiur Rahman, Energy Adviser Dr Towfique-e-Elahi Chowdhury, Security Adviser Major General (retd) Tariq Ahmed Siddiq, and Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim.
They were joined by Russian Ambassador to Bangladesh Alexander Ignatov, Russia’s state-run atomic energy body Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev, and Chief Engineer of Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission Md Abdur Razzak.