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Main phase of Rooppur power plant construction to begin 30 November

Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) has formally received the design and construction license, paving the way for the main construction work of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP) Unit-1.

Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority (BAERA) Chairman Naiyyum Chowdhury formally handed over the license to the Chairman of BAEC Dilip Kumar Saha for the RNPP project at a function at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Dhaka hotel in the capital.

Addressing the function as chief guest, Science and Technology Minister Yeafesh Osman said Bangladesh has entered the global nuclear club through this license.

Osman said that this has been a confidence building project of the nation. “From tomorrow, we will start the final phase of the project. We are pursuing the best process of safety.

“After liberation, it has been the biggest task for the nation."

RNPP Project Director Dr Shawkat Akbar said having the license proves that the nuclear power plant and its technological components are safe and it gives project authorities the legal go ahead for the construction.

“From today, we have the legal authority to start the main construction,” he added. 

The main phase of the construction of the RNPP, the maiden nuclear power plant in Bangladesh, is set to begin on 30 November, making the much-hyped project a reality.

The final phase work includes the civil construction for setting up the nuclear reactor.

“We are planning to pour the first batch of concrete to begin the main construction work on November 30.

“We are hoping that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will officially launch the construction work,” an official of the Ministry of Science and Technology told the Dhaka Tribune.

“This is a giant leap for the country as, through the beginning of the main phase of construction, we are entering the era of nuclear power generation,” the official further said

The design and construction license have been prepared by BAERA with the help of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Russia and India after evaluating all the regulatory documents.

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The highpoint of Bangladesh’s first nuclear energy project is India’s collaboration with Russia to help build the plant.

Russia's State Atomic Energy Corporation – Rosatom – which is working as the contractor, is keen to ensure maximum participation of Bangladeshi companies in the RNPP project.

“We are interested in maximum involvement of Bangladeshi suppliers and/or contractors in the Rooppur project,” said Alexander Khazin, Senior Vice-President for International Projects at АSE Group of Companies, an engineering division of Rosatom.

As per the plan, Rosatom is expected to complete first plant by 2022.

Earlier, Bangladesh and Russia inked a number of deals for the construction of two nuclear power plants, each having 1,200MW capacity.

Once the project is completed, Bangladesh will become the third Asian country after India and Pakistan to harness energy from atomic fission.

It will be the most expensive project in the country. The US$12.65bn contract is 90% funded by a loan from the Russian government.

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