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8 December, 2017 00:00 00 AM

Nuclear power plans

Monaem Sarker
Nuclear power plans

Building a nuclear power plant in Bangladesh was proposed in 1961. Since then a number of reports have affirmed the technical and economic feasibility. The Rooppur site in Pabna district about 160 km northwest of Dhaka was selected in 1963 and land was acquired. The government gave formal approval for a succession of plant proposals, then after independence a 125 MWe nuclear power plant proposal was approved in 1980 but not built.

With growth in demand and grid capacity since then, a much larger plant looked feasible, and the Awami League government in 1999 expressed its firm commitment to build this Rooppur plant. In 2001 it adopted a national Nuclear Power Action.

Russia, China and South Korea had earlier offered financial and technical help to establish nuclear power, and in March 2009 Russia made a formal proposal to build a nuclear power plant in the country. In May 2009 a bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement was signed with Russia. In April 2009 the government approved the Russian proposal to build a 1000 MWe AES-92 nuclear plant at Rooppur for about $2 bn, and a year later this had become two such reactors by 2017. A nuclear energy bill was introduced into parliament in May 2012, with work to begin in 2013, and setting up a Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority. Parliament was told that 5000 MWe of nuclear capacity was envisaged by 2030, and a second plant would be built in the south once Rooppur is operating.

In May 2010 an intergovernmental agreement was signed with Russia, providing a legal basis for nuclear cooperation in areas such as siting, design, construction and operation of power and research nuclear reactors, water desalination plants, and elementary particle accelerators. Other areas covered included fuel supply and wastes– Russia will manage wastes and decommissioning.

An agreement with ROSATOM was signed in February 2011 for two 1000 MWe-class reactors to be built at Rooppur for the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC). Rooppur is close to a HVDC link with India and on the route of a planned 600 kV HVDC link running up the western side of the country. Another intergovernmental agreement was signed in November 2011 for the project to be built by AtomStroyExport. In 2014 Moscow AEP said that the plant would be an AES-2006 with a version of its V-392M reactors, with Novovoronezh II being the reference plant. Turbine generators (high speed) are expected to be from Power Machines.

An intergovernmental agreement for provision of a $500m Russian loan to finance engineering surveys on the site, project development and personnel training was signed in January 2013. The $500m loan will be repaid in 12 years with five years' grace period. In June and October 2013, AtomStroyExport signed contracts with BAEC to prepare documentation related to the construction and environmental impact assessment for the Rooppur plant, as well as providing for necessary engineering studies, including site preparation and detailed design documentation. AtomStroyExport said that this represented a transition to long-term cooperation. A $190m agreement for major site works to prepare for first concrete was signed in June 2014, and BAEC authorized this in September, to be completed by 2016.

Bangladesh has been maintaining robust growth over the last two decades. The present government is committed to elevate the country to the status of a middle income country by 2021 and a developed country by 2041. For this vision to be materialised a huge supply of energy in the form of electricity will be required in a secured and affordable manner. Our indigenous resource of primary energy would be inadequate to meet the entire demand.

Globally, nuclear power is considered to be one of the cheapest and reliable sources of electricity. Virtually, it emits no greenhouse gases. Considering international experience, Bangladesh has decided to develop its own nuclear power programme. The government has plans to generate at least 4000MW electricity from nuclear sources by 2030.

Over the last several years, Bangladesh has made a significant progress in development of the power sector. Presently, Bangladesh is implementing a master plan to produce 24,000 MW, 40,000 MW and 60,000 MW in the year 2021, 2030 and 2041 respectively. The Power System Master Plan (PSMP), 2016 aims to ensure supply of electricity to all citizen and economic sectors at affordable costs at all times through a well-balanced power generation environment that maximises the respective advantages of different types of power generation methods, including nuclear power, thermal power, hydropower generation and will be covered by coal and gas and the remaining 30 percent will be by nuclear power, hydropower generation, renewables and power imports from neighbouring countries. Nuclear power is considered as the base load energy and the share of nuclear electricity generation beyond 2030 will be about 10 percent of the total power generation.

On November 30, the ceremony of first concrete pouring by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina into the reactor building foundation has taken place at Rooppur NPP. This event marks the start of construction of the country's first nuclear power plant under Sheikh Hasina's govt.

Bangladesh will have the safest and most environmentally friendly nuclear power plant, which will provide a quality solution to country's ever increasing power demand boost scientific and technological growth, create new job opportunities and facilitate socio-economic development.

Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant will be equipped with two units, each of 1200 MW capacity. In project construction, will be used the most advanced 3+ generation technology, which complies with the latest safety requirements of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This type of reactor with the unique combination of active and passive safety systems was first commissioned in Russia's Novovoronezh Nuclear Power Plant in March 2016. The power unit made the list of top three awardees of Power Awards 2017 in the Best Power Plant category according to POWER Magazine (USA). The Russian WER 1200 brought home the award in the Top Plant nomination.

Today, ROSATOM is the global leader in terms of the number of simultaneously implemented nuclear reactor construction projects at various stages, 8 in Russia and 34 in 12 other countries. ROSATOM offering all-encompassing solutions for Bangladesh and other partners, which include support at every stage of national nuclear power program. ROSATOM, other than implementing the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant project is extending its support and cooperation to Bangladesh in development of national nuclear infrastructure and human resources, management of spent nuclear fuel as well as developing of local industry among many others. There will encouraging and trying to ensure maximum participation of local companies in the process.

The IAEA has been supporting Bangladesh from its early phase of nuclear power programme. The Agency (IAEA) has been organising training courses, workshops, fellowship and scientific visit programmes, educational seminars and with access to accumulated expertise in nuclear power to develop human resources of our country. The Agency's Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission, conducted in 2011 recognised that Bangladesh is on progress in building its first NPP. The INIR mission team concluded that Bangladesh reached Milestone 1, having 'made a knowledgeable decision' regarding its nuclear power program and the country has stepped into Phase-2, in the stage of preparation to negotiate the agreement(s)/contract(s) with the selected NPP vendor. The INIR mission provided recommendations and suggestions on how to make further improvements. An Integrated Work Plan (IWP) for Bangladesh infrastructure development was developed through collaboration of the IAEA for the period 2012-2015 that provided a framework for the IAEA assistance to Bangladesh. Bangladesh had initiated its actions responding to all recommendations and suggestions provided by the 2011 INIR mission.

The construction of this NPP is going to enhance the development of social and economic, scientific and technological potential of the country and promoting Bangladesh to become a member of the elite 'Nuclear Club' of countries, which have nuclear technologies for power generation. The Rooppur NPP project is the largest infrastructure project in Bangladesh. Bangladesh started preparatory construction activities in 2013. Now the nation is celebrating the first concrete pouring of the unit 1 of Rooppur NPP on 30 November. Hopefully, the two units of Rooppur NPP will go into operation by 2023 and in 2024 respectively. Rooppur NPP will play an important role in providing a stable base load and ensuring energy security of our nation. For 60 years, our country has had a dream of building its own NPP. We all are happy that we are proceeding steadily towards fulfilling our dream. I have the pleasure to mention here that I was the First Secretary of Science & Technology department of Awami League Central Committee in 1990.

There was no such post in Awami League before. In technology & Research also Bangladesh has developed, we have built NOVO THEATRE, SATELLITE will be placed in Space in near future. Due to Research in different sectors Rice, Jute, Fishery, Poultry & different vegetable items we have achieved grand success.  

The writer is Director General, Bangladesh Foundation for Development Research



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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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