ISSN 2330-717X

Bangladesh Benefits From Nuclear Cooperation With Russia – OpEd

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Work on the Rooppur nuclear power project on the banks of the Padma River at Rooppur in Pabna district in Bangladesh, the country’s most expensive power plant, is moving fast. This is one of the important projects of the 10 mega projects of the present government. Bangladesh is going to be a model for whole world including South Asia regarding using of nuclear power peacefully. According to Bangladeshi media outlets, Bangladesh is going to enter into the age of nuclear generation of electricity. Bangladesh’s nuclear activities is very peaceful to generate only for electricity. Bangladesh wants to meet the huge demand of electricity of the growing factories and companies. Bangladesh is an energy hungry nation now. Thus, it has initiated its nuclear program by signing treaty with Russia in 2013.

The new door of Russia-Bangladesh bilateral cooperation was opened in 2013 through this agreement. At that time, the two countries signed a state export credit agreement with the nuclear-armed country to implement a nuclear project in Bangladesh. In the light of this, the work of nuclear power plant started at Rooppur in Pabna district in Bangladesh with the direct financial and technical cooperation of Russia.

Bangladesh government is implementing its visionary 10 mega projects now. There are garment factories in Bangladesh which are producing huge number of productions. On the other hands, the consumption of electricity is rising day by day. So, Bangladesh needs electricity. Bangladesh is trying its level best to increase of production electricity. In 2009 where the power generation was 3200 MW; Now it has exceeded 20,000 MW. Two reactors with a capacity of 1200 MW are being set up at Rooppur. If production starts from the first nuclear power plant in Bangladesh, it will undoubtedly start another revolution of development in the country. 

Even in the midst of the Corona epidemic, its work continues at a normal pace. The concerned people are hoping that the work will be completed on time. The first of the two units of the 1,200-megawatt project will be launched in 2023 and the second in 2024. There is no alternative to energy and power security for the desired development and progress of any country. Bangladesh is expected to be upgraded to the status of a developed country by 2041. With this goal in mind, a comprehensive program of power generation has been taken. As economic activity grows, it is essential to ensure power supply as its driving force. In addition to the construction of large gas-oil based power plants, several power plants and nuclear power plants are being constructed. The Prime Minister also mentioned the construction of another nuclear power plant. It will be in the south. The aim of these initiatives and projects is to meet the growing demand for electricity.

Bangladesh has entered the era of nuclear energy. In a video conference from Ganobhaban (BD Prime Minister’s official residence) on October 10, 2021, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the installation of the first nuclear reactor pressure vessel at the Rooppur nuclear power plant under construction in Pabna district in Bangladesh. The installation of this reactor is considered to be the most important step in the process of commissioning a nuclear power plant. 

After Rooppur in Pabna, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has sought Russia’s cooperation in building another nuclear power plant in the southern part of the country. She hoped that in the future the Russia’s nuclear agency, Rostom would cooperate with Bangladesh in this regard. The issue was discussed on October 11th, 2021 morning at Ganobhaban when the DG of Russia’s state-owned nuclear agency Rosatom paid a courtesy call.

Now Bangladesh Seeks Russia’s cooperation in setting up another nuclear power plant.Ever since the original construction began in 2016, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been talking about the state’s plan to build another nuclear power plant in the south of the country. On October 11, 2021, she also spoke in the same context at the installation ceremony of the first unit in Rooppur.

Since the implementation of the nuclear project in cooperation with Russia has come a long way. That is why Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has sought the country’s help in building the second power plant in the country.

Alexei Likhachev, DG of Russia’s state-owned nuclear agency ROSATOM, met the Prime Minister at Ganobhaban on October 11th morning.

In this courtesy call, the Prime Minister called upon the country to further cooperate in the nuclear sector. Emphasizing the importance of safety, the Prime Minister called upon the Director General of Rosatom to train the local people so that they could run the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP).

At the time, the ROSATOM chief said his country wanted more cooperation in Bangladesh’s power sector. Alexey Likhachev also briefed Sheikh Hasina on the construction and implementation deadline at Rooppur.

Alexei Likhachev said that mutual cooperation between Bangladesh and Russia has entered the nuclear field and by 2023 Bangladesh will become a nuclear power.

He said they would train Bangladeshis to run the RNPP and would continue their cooperation in Bangladesh’s power sector.

Atomic scientists call this reactor the heart of a nuclear power plant. When the construction work is completed, the two units of Rooppur center are expected to generate 2,400 MW of electricity. The construction work of Rooppur project went one step further by installing reactor pressure vessels. 

The people of Bangladesh are hoping that the power generation will start after the completion of the project as per the schedule. The Rooppur project will have two units of VVR-technology reactors with a capacity of 1,200 MW. According to the schedule, Unit-1 is scheduled to be launched in 2023 and Unit-2 in 2024.

It is learned that Rooppur nuclear power plant has utilized Russia’s best tacties, many years of experience and scientific thinking. A senior official involved in the project said the unique combination of active and passive systems of the power unit would ensure the safe operation of the center and ensure the planned level of power generation. 

We hope that nuclear power will not only solve the problem of energy supply in Bangladesh, but also make an important contribution to the development of the overall quality of life of the people. The construction of Rooppur nuclear power plant has initially cost more than One lakh 13 thousand 92 crore 91 lakh Bangladeshi Takas. Despite the epidemic, thousands of workers are working there day and night. In fact, this power plant will be considered as a model of clean energy in the country, which will provide affordable, reliable and quality electricity in the long run. This will make Bangladesh more prosperous. Russia-Bangladesh Nuclear Cooperation provides benefits for Bangladesh.

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Pathik Hasan

Pathik Hasan is a Dhaka-based NGO activist, researcher and freelance writer on contemporary international issues whose work has been published in many local and international publications. Academic background: BSS (Peace and Conflict Studies) and MSS (International Relations) under the University of Dhaka. He can be reached at [email protected]

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