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Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant: On course to firing ahead of schedule

The Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant is expected to become operational from 2023, months ahead of the scheduled 2024 timeframe, said Shaukat Akbar, its project director.

Originally, the first unit of the nuclear power plant was scheduled to open by 2024 and the second unit by 2025.

Now, the first unit will be running in 2023, and accordingly, power would be supplied to the national grid, Akbar told a group of journalists yesterday at the Atomic Energy Commission.

The second unit would be made operational six to eight months after the opening of the first unit.

By December, 50 percent of the works of the power plant would be complete, he said, adding that the first of the five missions from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect whether all works are being done as per guidelines will arrive next month.

The missions will inspect the readiness of around 19 infrastructures of the plant, which includes the issues of safety, security and safeguards and the institutional and impersonal skills of the operating staff.

If the five missions are satisfied, it will give the green light to bring in nuclear fuel.

Bringing the fuel will be the biggest work after the installation of the reactor pressure vessel, the work for which was flagged off by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on October 10, Akbar said.

The Russian contractor will maintain all the security measures, according to the guidelines of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to send the fuel to the Bangladesh territory.

Upon its arrival in Bangladesh, the fuel would be taken to the base station in Pabna with the highest security protocol, he said.

He hopes that fuel for the plant could be brought within the middle of 2023 and then a trial run of the plant would start.

“We are constructing the infrastructure following the guidelines of the IAEA and they have expressed satisfaction over the works so far.”

Asked about the risk of radiation, Akbar said the construction of the nuclear project is designed in such a way that the amount of radiation emitted from the plant during its normal operation would be so insignificant that it will never rise above the level set for a person who will work on the site.

Apart from the active and passive safety systems, there are five layers of safety in the design documentation of the Rooppur Power Plant.

It is guaranteed by the design as well confirmed by the vendor country that the radiation limit beyond the 300 metres of our reactor building will never exceed above the internationally acceptable level in any condition, either in normal operation or in an emergency.

The limit of radiation within the 300-metre periphery — which would include those operating and maintaining the plant — would be different from that for the general public beyond the periphery.

“There is no risk of radiation after the 300 metres of this nuclear power plant or even for anyone who will work on the site.”

The Rooppur power plant project is being implemented by Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission with technical and financial support from Russia.

Source: The Daily Star