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Rooppur power plant construction works on

Strict health security being maintained

Published : 05 Apr 2020 09:36 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 10:46 PM

Despite worldwide coronavirus scare, lockdown and stagnant economic system, the construction work of the country’s first nuclear power project with capacity of 2400 megawatt is going on in full swing maintaining strict health security at Rooppur in Pabna district.

About 4,500 workers and employees, including foreigners, are working every day to complete the power plant within the stipulated time. Of these, around 1,200 are Russians and some 700-800 are other foreign nations.

When contact Architect Yeafech Osman, Minister of Science and Technology, told The Bangladesh Post that the construction of the nuclear power plant is underway to ensure all kinds of health security. In addition to the use of different types of safety equipment, everyone is tested at least three times a day for body temperature and health checkup.

“It is an international project and also a matter of honor for us. We hope at least 1200MW unit of electricity from the first nuclear plant will be added to the national grid by 2023. The second with the same amount of power will be launched by 2024,” he added.

Project officials said most of the major projects in the country were halted due to Coronavirus. Due to the dependence on foreign manpower, some projects have been stopped. Foreigners associated with the embassy and various activities are returning to their respective countries. However, the construction work of Rooppur Power Plant is going on in full-swing. The project concerned has taken initiatives to prevent the deadly virus and to prevent anyone from getting infected.

The power plant is being implemented in Rooppur of Pabna district 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.

Alexey Likhachev, Director General of Russia's state atomic energy corporation-Rosatom, said “Ensuring nuclear safety and safeguarding the lives and health of both our employees and the general public has been our first and utmost priority for decades. Safety is Rosatom’s key value. We have always had contingency plans for any kind of emergency situations, including those related to the health of our employees.”

“At present, we have introduced additional measures at all of Russia’s nuclear power plants, including regular health check-ups of our personnel. We have arranged for as many employees as possible to work remotely and purchased personal protective equipment and hygiene-related products in bulk. We are monitoring our employees’ health in close cooperation with local authorities across our areas of operation. We have developed a number of additional contingency plans for various scenarios of the coronavirus pandemic that may have an effect on the health of our NPP employees,” he continued.

Likhachev further said “We have taken similar measures at the nuclear power plant construction sites. We are carrying on with all our foreign construction sites despite challenges related to the spread of the coronavirus in a number of countries. Of course, measures have been put in place at our sites in such countries in order to ensure the safety of personnel. We are guided by the recommendations of the disease control services and governments of the respective countries and are fully prepared to strengthen measures to counter the spread of this infection, including quarantine.”

Rosatom is implementing 36 nuclear power units in 12 foreign countries across the globe, including Bangladesh, India, China, Finland, Belorussia, Turkey and Egypt.

Once the nuke plant goes into operation, it will offer a window of opportunities, such as ensuring uninterrupted electricity supply to over 15 lakh families and jobs for a large number of people.

Manufacturing of its various machineries and equipment is running in full swing in Russia. Some of them have already reached Bangladesh, some have been shipped and others are still in manufacturing process. The first reactor with 3 steam turbine and its related equipment will reach in Bangladesh by November, Rosatom officials said.

Rooppur nuclear power plant project’s official said “There will be two reactors with 8 steam turbine. We hope the first reactor with 3 steam turbine will reach here within November. The second reactor and others five steam turbine will reach in phases. By this time the first reactor would be installed.”

Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant is planned and being constructed according to Russian design. The plant will have two power units with latest generation 3+ VVER 1200 reactor, which will fully meet all international safety requirements.