Govt giving top priority to safety to build Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant: PM

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ISHWARDI, Pabna, Nov 30, 2017 (BSS) – Describing the country’s nuclear energy programme as “very transparent”, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said her government has given top priority to the issue of nuclear safety and radiological protections in implementing the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP).

“We’re strictly following the IAEA safety standard and other relevant guidance as well as international good practices in constructing the plant,” she said while inaugurating the first concrete pouring work of the much-awaited Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, the maiden nuclear plant of the country here this noon.

The premier said the Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority has been continuously supervising and monitoring the safety aspects at every step of the plant as per Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Act-2012 and the IAEA guidelines.

She said the government has promulgated the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Act-2012 to strengthen the national nuclear regulatory infrastructure to ensure safe and secure applications to nuclear techniques and building the country’s first nuclear power plant.

Sheikh Hasina said the country’s nuclear energy programme is “very transparent” as it has signed all the major international treaties, agreements and protocols related to the nuclear nonproliferation.

The prime minister said an independent nuclear regulatory authority styled as ‘Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority’ has already been formed and bilateral relationship with the nuclear regulatory body of Russian Federation as well as the IAEA has been established for the capacity building of our national nuclear regulatory authority.

Science and Technology Minister Architect Yeafesh Osman presided over the function, while Land Minister Shamsur Rahman Sharif Dilu, Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology Ministry Dr AFM Ruhal Haque, Russia’s state-run atomic energy body Rosatom’s Director General Alexey Likhachev and International Atomic Energy Agency Director Dohee Hahn spoke on the occasion.

Science and Technology Secretary Md Anwar Hossain delivered the welcome address, while Project Director of the plant Dr Md Shawkat Akbar gave an overview on the construction of the power plant.

The Rooppur plant is expected to add 2,400 MW of electricity to the national grid by 2024, helping the country to meet an increasing demand for electricity.

The mega project is being implemented by the state-run Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) under the Science and Technology Ministry, with financial, technical and technological support given by Russia through its state nuclear agency, Rosatom.

The Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) and Russian company, JSC Atomstroyexport, signed a general contract for construction of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) on December 25 in 2015.

BAEC Chairman Md Monirul Islam and Vice President of Atomstroyexport Vladimir N Savuskhin signed the contract on behalf of their respective organisations.

Atomostroyexport, the contractor appointed by Russia’s state-owned atomic power body , Rosatom, will construct the RNPP at a cost of $12.65 billion, out of which, $10.1 billion has been fixed as base price, $1 billion for soil stabilisation and further cost, and the remaining $1.65 billion for price escalation.

On December 15 in 2015, the government finalised the amount for the biggest-ever investment project in the country’s history by inking an initial agreement with Russia.

Earlier 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.

On November 2, 2011, Bangladesh signed a deal with Russia’s state-owned nuclear giant Rosatom to construct the nuclear plant. Russia will provide all assistance under the agreement for setting up the plant, including providing the fuel and taking back the used fuel.

A total of 262 acres of land have been acquired to set up two units of the plant with a production capacity of 2,400-MW.

On October 2, 2013, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina laid the foundation stone of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant at Ishwardi in Pabna.

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