Russia supplies first batch of fuel for Bangladesh nuclear power plant | World News - Hindustan Times
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Russia supplies first batch of fuel for Bangladesh nuclear power plant

Oct 06, 2023 06:08 PM IST

The Rooppur nuclear plant will produce 2,400 MW and power about 15 million households when its two reactors go fully online. The first unit is expected to become operational in 2024

Russia has supplied the first batch of nuclear fuel to Bangladesh for the Rooppur nuclear power project being constructed by Moscow, with President Vladimir Putin pledging to provide aid throughout the life cycle of the plant.

Bangladesh on Thursday officially received the first batch of uranium for Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (Twitter/@albd1971)
Bangladesh on Thursday officially received the first batch of uranium for Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (Twitter/@albd1971)

Putin and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina joined the ceremony held on Thursday to mark the handing over of the nuclear fuel by video-conference.

The uranium had arrived in Bangladesh last month and was handed over at the ceremony at Ishwardi in Pabna district, where the plant is located.

The Rooppur nuclear plant will produce 2,400 MW and power about 15 million households when its two reactors go fully online. The first unit is expected to become operational in 2024. The plant is being built by Rosatom, Russia’s state-run nuclear energy corporation.

Hasina and Putin gave symbolic permission for the delivery of the nuclear fuel to the power plant.

“Naturally, Russia’s efforts are not limited to building the facility. We will provide assistance to our Bangladeshi partners throughout the entire life cycle of the nuclear project, including our obligations for the long-term deliveries of reactor fuel, plant maintenance and handling nuclear waste,” Putin said.

He said the flagship project meets the interests of both countries and helps strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation. It will also contribute to Bangladesh’s economic development and strengthen energy security, Putin added.

Russia is training specialists for Bangladesh’s nuclear industry, and 80 Bangladeshi students seeking careers in the industry have completed their studies at Russian universities, Putin said. An education and training centre for Bangladeshi personnel has also been operating at the plant site since last year and has trained more than 1,000 Bangladeshi citizens to oversee basic technological processes at the plant.

Hasina expressed gratitude to Russia for providing “much-needed assistance in our struggle for independence and in the post-war reconstruction of our ruined country” and also for giving a helping hand in implementing the Rooppur project.

Russia has funded the construction of the plant with a $11.38-billion loan, to be repaid over two decades from 2027. More than 4,000 Russian citizens are working at the construction site.

The fuel for the Rooppur plant was manufactured at Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrates Plant (NCCP), an enterprise of Rosatom’s fuel division. “After the delivery of nuclear fuel, Rooppur NPP becomes a nuclear facility, and... Bangladesh gets the status of a country that possesses peaceful nuclear technologies,” said Rosatom director general Alexey Likhachev.

The plant is located on the eastern bank of the Ganges river, about 160 km northwest of Dhaka. The Russian-designed VVER-1200 reactor were chosen for Bangladesh’s first nuclear plant. The life cycle of these reactors is 60 years, with the possibility of extending service life by another 20 years.

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