Update October 4, 2015

Dhaka 12-43 pm, 25-September, 2020

Bangladeshi engineers’ skills proved

Sumel Sarker

Rooppur Power Plant

Bangladeshi engineers’ skills proved

04 October 2015, Nirapad News: The construction work of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant is going on as per schedule. The plant will go into commercial production in 2022 while power will be available in 2023 from the second unit.

Bangladesh is performing its part perfectly while local engineers have demonstrated their skills in training.

In an exclusive interview with banglanews, project in-charge Maksim V. Elchishchev commented last Friday (October 2) that General Contract (Development Agreement) will have to be signed early.

Maksim is an experienced person in nuclear power technology and he has built a number of such plants for the last 15 years. The proposed Rooppur plant is heading to its reality with his magical touch.

He informed banglanews that now the time is propitious for inking the agreement where the role of Russia and Bangladesh will be defined. The agreement will also contain the important matters like the mode of investment as well as the disposal of nuclear wastes.

Maksim said that he is fortunate and proud to implement such a project in Bangladesh. Moreover, he extended thanks to Bangladesh to give the work to Russia. “Bangladesh has a beautiful future,” he remarked.

Russia is considering Rooppur Nuclear plant not from a commercial point of view rather from the point of social entrepreneurship. Power is essential for human life. That power will be produced here at a cheap rate.

According to Maksim, the pre-feasibility study and assessment of impact on the environment has earlier been done. Nothing negative was found in the study. Till now everything is on the right track.

In the second phase, the agreement was signed to draw the development design and the work is at its last leg.

The project in-charge is optimistic about going into production within the expected time if everything goes at the current pace.

He further said that the latest technology is being used at Rooppur.

“We built a power plant with similar technology in our country.”

According to him, the plant can endure the earthquakes of magnitude 9.0 on Richter scale.

“Moreover, this new model will automatically remain safe for 72 hours whereas the old model was safe for 48 hours.”

At Rooppur plant the target of power production was 2,000-MW through two units. However, each of the unit will have a capacity of production upto 1,198.8-MW, Maksim added.

He also said that the investment will come back within 15 years while its lifetime will be 60 years. Russian engineers will run the plant up to a certain period. Later, it will be transferred to the Bangladeshi engineers, who will be already equipped with sufficient knowledge after taking training.

Maksim appreciated the quick decision making capacity of the government as setting up a nuclear power plant is a complex matter.

When the Russian expert was asked to comment about his experiences on working with Bangladesh in the light of working with other countries in nuclear plants, he said that he is simply charmed.

“While working here we are satisfied,” he added.

Some quarters are propagating that there are chances of radiation but this idea is baseless, the expert asserted.

Maksim said that there is no possibility of radiation hazards because the safety measure was given highest priority.

“Fukushima experiences were utilized here. New technology was adopted here to avoid radiation hazards.”

Underground water will not be used at Rooppur for cooling the plant. Maksim informed the media that 9,000 cubic meter water will be drawn from the river Padma daily as required.

When asked about the amount of financial involvement at Rooppur he replied that the amount cannot be definitely estimated before signing of General Contract.

What is your evaluation about the Bangladeshis? He replied that the country is beautiful and its people are very laborious.

“I have found their work skill in many fields.”

“If we want to produce the amount of electricity from coal then it would have required 3 tones of coal which will be available from one gram of uranium. The nuclear power is the cheapest. It costs less than Tk 2 per unit. But oil originated power costs more than Tk 20 per unit.

At Rooppur 9.1 billion unit of electricity will be produced per annum. If it is sold (whole sale) at current rate, then the profit will be around Tk 12 billion.

The proposed plant will be set up at Rooppur in Ishwardi upazila of Pabna district. Meanwhile, 260 acres of land for the plant and 32 acres of land for residential purposes have been acquired.

The then Pakistan government took up the project in 1961. Initially the production capacity was 200MW. The ship which was carrying its equipment and machineries was diverted to Karachi port in 1964.

A proposal was approved in ECNEC in 1969 to build the power plant with the capacity of 200MW but the project was almost dropped due to the reluctance of Pakistan government.

After liberation, the government of Bangabandhu took initiatives to start the power plant but it was again sent to cold storage after the regime change in 1975.

Once again, the project was revived following the energy policy of Awami League government that came to power in 1996.

In 1997, it was resolved in the cabinet meeting for speedy implementation of the project and the pre-implementation work began in 1999.

In 2000, the government approved the Bangladesh Nuclear Power Action Plan (BANPAP). But, once again, the change of government halted the project.

Again initiatives were taken when the grand alliance government returned to power in 2009.

On May 13 of 2013, a MoU was signed with Russia. On May 21 of same year a framework agreement was signed between Bangladesh and Russia.

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