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Rooppur 1st phase to begin power operation in 2022

By Syed Shukur Ali

DHAKA, April 10 (BSS) - The first phase of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP) is expected to go for power generation in 2022 as the government is working relentlessly to complete its construction in time.

"We expect that the first phase of the much-awaited project will go for power generation in 2022 and the second phase in 2023," Secretary of the Ministry of Science and Technology M Serajul Huq Khan said.

Addressing a press briefing at the project office of the RNPP in Ishwardi yesterday, he said the per unit sale price of the electricity to be produced in this project would be Taka 3.5. Each of the both phases of RNPP has the power generation capacity of 1200 MW.

Additional secretary of the Science and Technology Ministry Anwar Hossain, Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission chairman Ali Zurkarnine and RNPP project director Shawkat Akbar were present on the occasion.

The secretary said the government has undertaken the project to construct the first ever nuclear power plant in the country by following the rules and regulations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

He said the government is going to sign a credit agreement with Russia within the current month or in May. But, the main construction work of the project will start in August next year with a target to commission the first 1,200 MW unit in 2022 and the second unit in 2023.

Regarding the sustainability of the plant, Khan said its lifetime would be 50 years and could be extended by another 30 years. "The government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Haisna has undertaken the mega project to establish the country's first nuclear power plant at Rooppur as per the international standard," he said.

He said Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to provide a soft loan to Bangladesh to construct the plant, showing his country's highest tribute to the memory of Father of the Nation Bangabanshu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who visited Russia soon after the Independence.

During the visit of Bangabandhu's daughter and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to Russia, an agreement was signed between the two countries to construct the plant.

Since it is a new power plant in Bangladesh, Khan said, "we are holding meetings with the Indian experts to gain some experience from them on Nuclear Power Plant management and operation."

According to the project details, Russian state nuclear agency Rosatom is building the 2400 MW nuclear power plant as contractor at a total cost of $12.65 billion.

Of the total amount, Russia will provide $11.385 billion, 90 percent, as state credit for the project while Bangladesh will spend $1.265 billion, 10 percent of the total cost. Bangladesh has to pay back the money in the next 28 years with an 8-year grace period.

A group of journalists yesterday visited the RNPP project site to see for themselves the progress of the project work. Talking to BSS, Project Director Shawkat Akbar said the plant's development works are progressing as per the schedule.

He said, "We hope that the first unit of the nuclear plant would go in operation and generate 1,200 MW power in 2022."