17 Apr (NucNet): Vastly increased electricity production including “a key role” for nuclear energy is a cornerstone of Bangladesh’s push for development with the goal of connecting 2.7 million more homes to the grid by 2021, Mohammad Shawkat Akbar, managing director of Nuclear Power Plant Company Bangladesh, the government company set up to run the facility, told the International Atomic Energy Agency.
On its website the IAEA quoted Mr Akbar as saying that the Rooppur nuclear power station, consruction of which began in November 2017, will provide stable baseload electricity and allow Bangladesh to increase its economic efficiency.
He said Bangladesh is in the process of implementing an ambitious, multifaceted development programme to become a middle-income country by 2021 and a developed country by 2041.
According to the IAEA Bangladesh is among around 30 countries that are considering, planning or starting the introduction of nuclear power. The Vienna-based UN agency has been supporting Bangladesh in developing its nuclear power infrastructure, including in establishing a regulatory framework and developing a radioactive waste-management system.
Bangladesh is on its way to becoming the third “newcomer” country to nuclear power in 30 years, following the United Arab Emirates in 2012 and Belarus in 2013, the IAEA said.
Two Russia-supplied 1,200-MW V-392M pressurised water reactor units are to be built at Rooppur, about 150 km from the capital Dhaka. The reactor design has already been used at Novovoronezh 2-1 in Russia, which began commercial operation in February.
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.