With the formal inauguration of the main construction work of 2400 megawatt Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant last year, Bangladesh stepped into the world of nuclear energy. On a vision of stabilising and enriching power and energy of the country and of making it self-reliant in the sector, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has declared that Bangladesh is getting its second nuclear power plant which will be constructed in Barishal. The prime minister unveiled the government’s plan at Ganobhaban on Monday last and said the feasibility study, associated with the project, is also going on. We strongly believe the government’s vision for the energy sector, as well as for all other sectors, is timely considering the present context of Bangladesh.
One has no doubt about the essentiality of nuclear power plants because the country needs to diversify its sources of energy. It needs this type of power plants for it can no longer afford to bank on one or two sources of primary energy like gas and oil. In a world where countries lock themselves in wars or political turmoil over oil or large volumes of energy reserves, and where everyone is fighting to survive in the economic race, Bangladesh cannot but opt for diversity in the energy sector. For decades, cheap indigenous natural gas has been contributing significantly to the economic growth of the country. The country’s power and industrial infrastructure has largely grown up centring natural gas supply. The recent gas shortfall naturally affected power generation and industrial production, especially since 2004-05. Amid such a situation, in 2009-10 fiscal year, the Awami League government unveiled a plan to gradually shift focus from natural gas as a primary energy to multiple sources of energy — oil, coal, liquefied natural gas (LNG), nuclear and renewable technology etc.
Likewise, reliance on one imported energy source — like coal or oil — has an additional risk burden too. In case of a sudden price hike of that single source in the international market, or a constraint in supply due to political conflicts, the country could face an unwarranted crisis.
Also, a modern nuclear power plant has a lifecycle of above 60 years compared to a
conventional power plant that has a lifecycle of 22 years on an average. In the long run, the nuclear power project is not costlier as it does primarily look like.
All these important matters have influenced the government to go for nuclear power plants. We will hope the dream for a second nuclear plant will come true very soon, and it will lead to a revolutionary change in the power and energy sector of Bangladesh.