30 Nov (NucNet): First concrete was poured today for the nuclear island basemat of Unit 1 at the planned Rooppur nuclear power station in Bangladesh, Russian state-owned nuclear corporation Rosatom said in a statement. The ceremony was attended by Rosatom’s director-general Alexey Likhachev and the prime minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina, the statement said. In October 2013, Russia signed an agreement with Bangladesh for design work on Rooppur, on the banks of the Ganges river about 160 km from the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka. In 2014, Rosatom said the Rooppur units – the first nuclear power reactors in Bangladesh – would both be 1,200-MW V-392M pressurised water reactors. According to Rosatom, the first unit at Rooppur is scheduled to begin commercial operation in 2023 with the second unit following in 2024. In July 2017, Russia agreed to release a state loan to finance the construction of the bulk of the Rooppur project. No mention was made of the amount of the loan, but earlier media reports put it at $12.6bn (€10.6bn). According to earlier reports, first concrete for Unit 1 at Rooppur was expected to be laid in December 2017.