The Financial Express

Rooppur nuke power plant construction to continue amid lockdown

Rooppur nuke power plant construction to continue amid lockdown

Bangladesh is keen to continue construction work of the country's maiden nuclear power plant despite the ongoing lockdown without applying 'force majeure' provision.

"We have decided to continue construction work of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP) to commission both the 1,200-megawatt (MW) units of the plant by 2023," RNPP project director Md Shawkat Akbar told the FE.

He said the RNPP construction work was continuing in full swing as per the schedule.

Most of the deals to execute the plant have already been inked. Both Bangladesh and Russia are also working to execute the remaining tasks, like - efficient use of nuclear fuel and its waste after first import of the fuel, he added.

The government has enforced a week-long fresh lockdown since Wednesday (April 14) to stem the spread of coronavirus, as the pandemic situation has been worsening to an alarming proportion over the past couple of weeks. The government earlier imposed restriction on mass movements from April 3 to April 13.

In the last 24 hours, ending on Thursday, Bangladesh saw 94 deaths and 4,192 new cases, bringing the death toll to 10,081 and total infection to 707,362, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).

'Force majeure' is a common clause in contracts that essentially frees both the parties involved from liability or obligation, when an extraordinary event or circumstance beyond the control of the parties prevents one or both of them from fulfilling their obligations under the contract.

During the previous year's (2020) lockdown from March 26 to May 31, Bangladesh and Russia had agreed not to use the pandemic as a reason to apply a 'force majeure' clause in a contract for the RNPP construction.

Atomstroyexport, Russian state nuclear company Rosatom's international projects' subsidiary, is the lead contractor for the plant, being built under a supplier's credit deal with Russia. The power plant will have two units, each with a capacity of 1,200 MW.

The RNPP construction is based on the Russia-Bangladesh intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in nuclear plant construction, signed on November 2, 2011.

The project has a total cost estimate of around Taka 1.13 trillion (US$ 13.48 billion), with Russian financing worth $11.38 billion being provided to Bangladesh.

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

The Bangladesh government will provide Tk 220.52 billion of its own funding for the project. India will also provide around $1.0 billion as loan to facilitate construction of necessary plant infrastructure.


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