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PM urges Rosatom to build another nuclear power plant at Rooppur

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday requested Russia’s state-run atomic agency Rosatom to consider building a second nuclear power plant at Rooppur.

She made the request when Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev called on her at her official residence Ganabhaban in Dhaka.

PM’s speechwriter M Nazrul Islam briefed reporters after the meeting.

Sheikh Hasina told the Rosatam DG that her government seeks to build another nuclear power plant at Rooppur upon completion of the ongoing project.

She pointed out that a technical survey needs to be conducted at the initial stage for setting up two new units.

The prime minister directed the completion of all formalities of taking back Spent Nuclear Fuel of the first and second units of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP) to Russia.

Alexey Likhachev gave assurance on behalf of the Russian government on taking back the Spent Nuclear Fuel produced by the first and second units to the Russian Federation and promised to complete all the necessary formalities on time as per the instructions of the prime minister.

Dhaka and Moscow have already signed an inter-state agreement regarding the return of the Spent Nuclear Fuel to Russia.

Sheikh Hasina thanked Russia for helping Bangladesh in energy security, especially the construction of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant.

She said that it was the dream of Bangabandhu to set up a nuclear power plant in Bangladesh, and it is being implemented.

She recalled the assistance of Russia during the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971 and subsequent help in rebuilding the war-ravaged country.

The prime minister also conveyed her greetings to Russian President Vladimir Putin for his reelection.

The Rosatom DG apprised the prime minister of the progress in building the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant.

He said the RNPP will go to production by 2025 and start to supplement the electricity supply to the national grid.

Likhachev also said that 85% work of the RNPP has been completed.

He proposed to the government to build two new power units (Unit-3 and Unit-4) in the Rooppur nuclear power project area.

The DG noted that the construction of Unit-3 and Unit-4 should be started as soon as the construction of the first two units is completed.

In this context, he also said the expansion of existing nuclear power projects is more profitable and reasonable from the financial point of view and in the light of technical and nuclear safety which is considered internationally.

He said that some 2,500 staff members, including Bangladeshi and Russians, have been working on the project and gained their expertise.

Sheikh Hasina asked the Rosatom DG to utilise Bangladeshi expertise in other nuclear power plant construction projects.

The Rosatom DG said that due to the pandemic and sanctions, there were obstacles, but the work continued at its usual pace.

The prime minister said the obstacles were avoided technically.

Science and Technology Minister Yeafesh Osman was present among others.

At present, the construction work of two units each having a capacity of 1,200MW in the Rooppur project area is in the final stage.

The physical start-up of the first unit will begin in December this year. Commercial power generation will start in 2025 and 2026 from Unit-1 and Unit-2.