Russian Rosatom proposes establishing several small nuclear power plants in Bangladesh

Alexei Likhachev, Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, RNPP, Rosatom

Russia’s state agency Rosatom has extended an enticing offer to Bangladesh, proposing the establishment of several small-scale nuclear power plants known as Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) in Bangladesh. These innovative reactors boast a maximum capacity of 300 MW, gaining traction globally for their streamlined construction processes compared to their larger counterparts.

On March 2, 2024, during a meeting, the Director General of Russia’s state agency Rosatom, Alexei Likhachev, took the initiative to personally present the proposal to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. During the discussion Rosatom Director General and Bangladesh Prime Minister delved deeply into multifaceted aspects of strategic cooperation between Bangladesh and Russia in the realm of nuclear energy utilization. This crucial discourse, as emphasized in an official press release from Rosatom’s public relations department in Bangladesh, underscored the shared commitment to fostering collaboration and advancing mutual interests in the sphere of nuclear energy development.

In his address, Alexey Likhachev underscored the imminent commissioning of the first unit of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP) this year. Furthermore, discussions centered around the potential expansion of Bangladesh’s nuclear energy portfolio with the addition of two more units at the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP) site, alongside contemplations on erecting a high-capacity multipurpose research reactor. These versatile research reactors hold the promise of unlocking myriad scientific and medical advancements.

A senior official from Bangladesh’s Ministry of Science and Technology elaborated on the comprehensive talks with the Rosatom DG, touching upon the holistic progress of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant construction. Notably, plans were articulated for the swift initiation of work on the second unit post the completion of the inaugural one. Rosatom’s proposal to initiate small modular reactors or compact nuclear power plants for the subsequent phase garnered keen interest from the Bangladesh Prime Minister, who expressed her enthusiasm for the proposition.

It was strongly emphasized that both Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Russian President Vladimir Putin should be regularly updated on the progress of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant construction.

The visit of the Director General of Rosatom to Bangladesh comprised routine engagements, including a comprehensive inspection of the Rooppur site in Pabna and extensive consultations with relevant project stakeholders. With the inaugural unit of the nuclear power plant, boasting a formidable capacity of 1,200 MW, set for inauguration this year, and subsequent unit slated for completion in 2026, significant strides are being taken to fortify Bangladesh’s energy landscape and foster long-term energy security. This meticulous oversight and strategic planning underscore the nation’s commitment to the safe and efficient development of its nuclear energy infrastructure.

Despite past concerns regarding nuclear power plants, significant advancements in modern technology have greatly enhanced their safety standards. The implementation of state-of-the-art generation 3+ Russian VVER reactors at the Rooppur facility exemplifies a steadfast commitment to rigorous international safety protocols.

Furthermore, the agreement mandates the responsible handling of spent fuel and nuclear waste, guaranteeing its secure return to Russia through stringent security measures. This demonstrates a proactive approach to managing environmental and safety considerations, fostering confidence in the sustainable operation of Bangladesh’s nuclear energy program.

Nuclear experts emphasize uranium’s unmatched energy efficiency and environmental sustainability, positioning it as a superior alternative to traditional fuels such as coal and fuel oil. The proposed establishment of another nuclear power plant serves as a testament to Bangladesh’s unwavering dedication to bolstering its energy security and addressing environmental challenges. This strategic move underscores the nation’s proactive approach towards embracing cleaner energy sources, aligning with global efforts to mitigate climate change and reduce carbon emissions. By investing in nuclear energy, Bangladesh not only enhances its energy resilience but also demonstrates its commitment to sustainable development and a greener future.

As per the agreement, Russia will provide the necessary power generation fuel free of charge for the first three years. Following this initial period, a scheduled fuel replacement regimen will be instituted to guarantee continuous energy provision, thereby preempting any potential energy shortages experienced elsewhere. This arrangement not only secures uninterrupted energy supply but also underscores the reliability and sustainability of Bangladesh’s nuclear energy program.

With Bangladesh proudly joining the ranks of 32 nations, including stalwarts like the United States, Russia, China, and Japan, in harnessing nuclear energy, the delivery of nuclear fuel uranium from Russia on September 28, 2023 marked a historic milestone. This symbolic gesture underscores the robust partnership between the two friendly nations, with stringent security measures in place for the transport of the fuel to the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, setting a precedent for responsible nuclear energy utilization.


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