Nazmul Likhon, From Rooppur
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the work on the first unit made a good progress in the last 7 months. With the first concrete pouring of the second unit, we are going another step ahead. Hope, we would be able to complete the construction of Rooppur Nuclear Power plant within the stipulated time.
She said these while first concrete pouring ceremony of Rooppur of Ishwardi in pabna on Saturday. First portion of concrete was symbolically poured into the foundation base of the reactor building of the unit.
Hasina said as part of our electricity production master plan, we are commissioning the Rooppur Nuclear Power plant. We are hoping that a total of 2,400 megawatts of electricity would be produced and added to the national grid from the 2 units by 2023-2024.
The prime minister said construction of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant is our long-cherished dream that was sown in 1961 in the then Pakistan era. At that time several physical works, including land acquisition, were completed. But the Pakistan government abruptly stopped the work and shifted the plant to West Pakistan showing step-motherly attitude to the East.
“After the independence, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman undertook an initiative to construct the Rooppur nuclear plant. As per his directive, work started but with his brutal assassination on 15th August 1975, the entire process was abandoned”-she added.
Sheikh Hasina said no government took initiative till 1996 when Awami League government revived the project for its implementation. We included the nuclear power generation programme in our energy policy of 1996.
“After coming to power in 2001, the BNP-Jamaat government stopped implementation of the Rooppur power plant project.”
She said Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant was a dream project of Bangabandhu. After assuming office in 2009 again, we have taken up the project again and Russian Federation has come forward to help implement the project.
“As a trusted friend, Russia not only extended material and moral support to our liberation war in 1971, but also took part in rebuilding war-ravaged Bangladesh after its independence. I recall with deep gratitude the contribution and sacrifice of the Russian people,”-Hasina said.
The prime minster said electricity is a key ingredient for socio-economic development of a country. When we assumed office in 2009, the total electricity production of the country was only 3,200 megawatts which was far below the demand and erratic power outage was a common phenomenon.
“We undertook short, mid and long-term plans to meet the demand. Now the total electricity production capacity rose to 18,353 megawatts. There is no load shading and 90 percent people have come under electricity coverage.”
She said in order to have a sustainable power supply, we have laid emphasis on alternative sources of energy like solar power, nuclear power, wind energy, etc. alongside fossil fuels in our energy policy.
“A section of the people expresses concern over safety of the nuclear power plant. Safety of nuclear power plant is indeed crucial and we are very much aware of it. We are strictly following IAEA safety standards and other relevant guidelines as well as international good practices in building the Rooppur power plant. Highest measures are being undertaken to avoid any sort of risk for the people,”-she added.
The design of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant has been developed in such a way that it will not succumb to any accident – natural or man-made. One of the main concerns of any nuclear power plant is its waste management. The Russian Federation will take back spent nuclear fuel of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant and we have signed a deal in this regard with them.
Sheik Hasina said our dream is to build a happy, prosperous and developed Bangladesh which would be the Golden Bangladesh as dreamt by Bangabandhu.We have made a good progress in the process. In socio-economic front, Bangladesh is well ahead not only of South Asian neighbours, but also many developed nations.
The centenary of the birth of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman will be celebrated in 2020 and the country’s Golden Jubilee in 2021. Marking these two auspicious occasions, we are accelerating the socio-economic progress of the country. We want to transform Bangladesh into a hunger and poverty-free, and technology and knowledge-based middle income country by the year 2021 and a developed one by 2041.
“I want to mention here that we have taken proper initiative for developing manpower for safe operation of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant. Recruitment of personnel and staff and their training in India and the Russian Federation have already been started.”
Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Yury Borisov said “Todays significant is another milestone for the Russian Fedaration and Bangladesh people. The economy of Bangladesh is growing first in last few years by the leadship of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Our country will continue support to Bangladesh.”
Science and technology minister Yeafesh Osman, IAEA director Dohee Hahn, Science and technology secretary Anwar Hossain, First Deputy Director General for Operations Management of Rosatom State Corporation Alexander Lokshin, Rooppur Nuclear power project Director Shawkot Akbor, Indian atomic energy commission officials also took part in the ceremony among others.
Rooppur NPP, with two WWER-1200 reactors, with the total capacity of 2400 MW, is under construction according to the Russian design at the Rooppur village of Ishwardi Upazilla ,160 km from Dhaka, in compliance with the General Contract signed on December 25, 2015. Atomstroyexport (Rosatom Engineering Division) is the General Contractor of Rooppur NPP construction.