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RNPP makes headway despite Ukraine crisis

Published : 06 Apr 2022 12:36 AM | Updated : 06 Apr 2022 12:44 PM

No disruption is in sight in the construction work schedule of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant in Bangladesh due to Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The project official said the construction work of the country's first nuclear power plant is going on in full swing at Rooppur in Pabna district with the support of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation, Rosatom.

A cargo ship with a new batch of equipment on board for Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP) left the Russian port of St-Petersburg recently.

The equipment for units 1 and 2 of Bangladesh’s nuclear power plant include 1300 various items weighing 1573 tonnes. The cargo is expected to be delivered at the NPP site in June this year.

“Despite the international situation, our division being the general contractor for the Rooppur NPP construction fulfills all its obligations, both in terms of construction and supply of equipment,” said Alexey Deriy, Vice-President of ASE and Director, Rooppur NPP construction project.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict has already put economies across the globe in deep crisis, but Bangladesh has been shielded from any of its immediate effects, say policymakers.

During the War of Liberation, Moscow provided support to Bangladesh. After independence, friendly relations developed between Bangladesh and the then Soviet Union (USSR, now Russia) and have been continuing over the last 50 years.

The total capacity of the plant is estimated at 2,400 MW. The government believes at least 1,200MW units of electricity from the first nuclear plant will be added to the national grid by 2023. The second one with the same amount of power will be launched by 2024.

Originally, the first unit of the power plant was scheduled to open by 2024 and the second one by 2025.

It is a top priority project on the Bangladesh government’s agenda. The progress of the work of the plant is closely monitored by the Prime Minister’s Office. 

The main construction work of the power plant is continuing at Rooppur, while at the same time, essential machinery is being made in Russia. Some of the machinery has already reached Bangladesh, some shipped and others are still in the manufacturing process. 

The project official said that about 30,000 workers and employees, including foreigners, are working to complete the power plant within the stipulated time.

Rooppur NPP will be equipped with two Russian VVER-1200 reactors with a total capacity of 2,400 MW. This is an evolutionary Generation III+ design which fully complies with all the international safety requirements. Engineering Division of Rosatom State Corporation, Russia is the General Designer and General Contractor of the project.

The design of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant has been developed in such a way that it will not succumb to any accident natural or man-made. One of the main concerns of any nuclear power plant is its waste management. The Russian Federation will take back all spent nuclear fuel of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, and they have signed a deal in this regard, an official said.

Officials said the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant will bring about a comprehensive change in the country's economy, contributing more than two percent to GDP growth.

Once the nuke plant goes into operation, it will offer a window of opportunity, such as ensuring uninterrupted electricity supply to over 15 lakh families, and jobs for a large number of people.

Besides, the plant will make special contributions to industrial development and scientific research. Above all, it will signal a release from the monopoly fuel of oil, gas, and coal for power generation.

On October 2 in 2013, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina laid the first foundation stone of Rooppur NPP. The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) had approved the construction of the Rooppur NPP Project on 6 December 2016 at an estimated cost of Taka 1,13,092.91 crore.