Bangladesh on Sunday started installing a major component of its first nuclear power plant.
Attending the event via videoconference, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the day was “very important and historic” as installation efforts began for the reactor pressure vessel in the first reactor building of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP), located in the west of the country.
Hasina said the plant would meet the country’s growing electricity needs, while also contributing to its socio-economic development.
“Bangladesh has become a part of the nuclear world. This is for peace, which is very important. Electricity will be generated in the nuclear power plant which will be supplied to every corner and village across the country,” the prime minister said.
The plant, which is slated to be operational in 2023 and is located in the district of Pabna, consists of two units, each having a capacity of 1,200 megawatts.
She added that the second unit of the same nuclear plant would be operational in 2024, adding that her government was searching for a suitable location for it in the southern part of the country.
The installation of reactor pressure vessels is one of the most critical tasks in a nuclear power plant’s construction.
Hasina lauded Russian President Vladimir Putin and a Russian company assisting with the implementation of the country’s largest megaproject.
Alexey Likhachev, the director-general of the Russian state-owned nuclear power company Rosatom, joined the event from the plant’s project site. The Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission is carrying out the project with the technical and financial support of Russia.
Russia will take care of waste management under the agreement by removing radioactive waste from the project site.
Bangladeshi workers involved in the project are being trained in Russia and India.
100 economic zones
Bangladesh is working to establish 100 economic zones and electricity will be required for industrial activity, the prime minister said.
“We have already provided electricity to nearly 99% villages. However, in the growing economic development and rise of people’s income capacity, use of electricity will rise further,” she said.
She also stated that once the Rooppur project is completed, her administration was looking for a suitable location to develop a second nuclear power station, adding: “If we can build another nuclear power plant, there’ll be no problem in power supply in the country.”
The prime minister stated that Bangladesh was aware of the risk of environmental contamination, as well as the safety and security of the power plant, and that three to four safety layers were in place to protect i