Uranium, the most widely-used fuel for nuclear power, may arrive in Bangladesh by 2023 and the commissioning work of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant will start by the end of that year.
Science and Technology Minister Yeafesh Osman and Project Director Dr Md Shawkat Akbar made the disclosure while visiting the Rooppur nuclear power plant project on Tuesday afternoon.
The country's first nuclear power plant is becoming more visible with each passing day, and the ‘reactor pressure vessel for second unit,’ a major part of the power plant, is expected to be installed today (October, 19).
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate it through videoconferencing from her official Ganabhaban residence in Dhaka. Alexey Likhachev, Chief Executive Officer of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom, will be present at the event as the special guest.
Yeafesh Osman said, “The work of this project is progressing with 100% transparency. Our first shipment of nuclear fuel will arrive within the next year. Hopefully, we can finish all work on time, Insha Allah.”
Md Shawkat Akbar said, after successfully commissioning of the first unit of the 2400MW power plant, electricity is expected to be added to the national grid by 2024 and that of the second unit by 2025.
A reactor pressure vessel (RPV) in a nuclear power plant is the pressure vessel containing the nuclear reactor coolant, core shroud, and the reactor core, which are thick steel containers that hold nuclear fuel when the reactors operate. The vessels provide one of several barriers that keep radioactive material out of the environment.
The power plant is being implemented by a subsidiary of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation, Rosatom. It is a top priority project on the Bangladesh government’s agenda, all the way up to the Prime Minister’s Office.
Earlier on October 10, 2021, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the installation of the first unit nuclear reactor pressure vessel through videoconferencing from Dhaka. It is the biggest project in the history of Bangladesh. The work of the Rooppur nuclear power plant has not stopped for a day even during the period of the coronavirus pandemic. About 25-26 thousand local and foreign people worked day and night for this project in three shifts every day.
The Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC), the project owner, inked a contract with Russia's state-run uranium mining and nuclear fuel production company, TVEL, in August 2019 for importing nuclear fuel from 2027 to till the plant remains in operation. However, the Russian Federation will provide the fuel for the plant till 2027 under a general contract as part of construction.
Sources at the BAEC said after every 18 months, one-third of nuclear fuel, will have to be changed. Necessary stock of uranium will remain on standby on the project site after the required amount is loaded into the rector.
Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant is planned and being constructed according to the Russian design. The plant will have two power units with the latest generation 3+ VVER 1,200 reactor, which will fully meet all international safety requirements. The lifespan of the reactors are 60 years, which can be extended for another 20 years, if necessary.
In 2015-2016, preparatory work was carried out at the construction site, working documentation was developed and documents for licensing for construction were prepared. On November 4, 2017, the regulatory authority of Bangladesh (BAERA) issued the required license for the design and construction of the plant.
On 2 October 2013, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina laid the first stone in the foundation of Rooppur NPP. The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved the Construction of Rooppur NPP Project on 6 December 2016 at an estimated cost of Taka 1,13,092.91 crore.