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The Financial Express

Government set to begin RNPP construction Thursday

| Updated: November 30, 2017 10:27:55


File Photo (Collected) File Photo (Collected)

The government is all set to begin the construction phase of the 2,400 megawatt (MW) Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP) with pouring the first nuclear concrete on Thursday (November 30).

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to inaugurate the construction works at the project site of Rooppur, Ishwardi in Pabna district as chief guest.

The project authorities already received formally the design and construction licence early this month from Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority (BAERA).

Obtaining the licence is mandatory to start construction of any nuclear power plant project, according to regulations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said a senior official at the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Earlier, officials said, the authorities had a plan to begin the construction phase on August 01, but changed it for completing the pre-construction phase.

The first unit (1,200MW) of the plant is expected to go into operation in 2023 and the second in 2024. Russian contractors are already working on the project site.

Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) will appoint India's Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership (GCNEP) to act as a consultant for the construction and operation of the plant, the MoST official said.

He said an agreement between BAEC, a division of MoST, and GCNEP, which works under the Department of Atomic Energy of India, will be signed soon.

The RNPP, the first nuclear plant in Bangladesh, would use two generation 3+ power VVER-1200 reactors. The plant is being built under an agreement by which Russia will finance most part of the total cost under a supplier's credit deal.

The Rooppur project has a total cost of around Tk 1.13 trillion (US$ 12.65 billion), including Russian financing worth $ 11.38 billion.

Russian Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs and Bangladesh's state-owned Sonali Bank Ltd. will work as the authorised banks for the Russian loan.

The Bangladesh government will finance Tk 220.52 billion from its own coffer. India will also provide around $1.0 billion as a loan to facilitate construction of the necessary infrastructure relating to the RNPP, said the MoST official.

Most of the India's loan will, however, be spent on infrastructure development -- construction of an electricity transmission line to connect the nuclear power plant and the national grid, he added.

The government signed an intergovernmental credit agreement with Russia in July last for construction of the RNPP.

On August 30 last, it also signed a deal with Russian state nuclear company Rosatom over the return of spent nuclear fuel from the plant site to Russia.

The agreement sets out provisions for the reprocessing of the spent fuel at Rosatom subsidiaries in Russia.

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