Safety top priority to build Rooppur NPP: PM

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Pabna, November 30: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday 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 are strictly following the IAEA safety standard and other relevant guidance as well as international good practices in constructing the plant,” she said.

The premier came up with the assertion 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.

She also termed the country’s nuclear energy programme ‘very transparent’.

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.

Sheikh Hasina 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.

She 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.

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.