Bangladesh signs up for Russian nuke tech made to fit

Russia and Bangladesh could sign an intergovernmental agreement on Bangladesh’s first nuclear power plant (NPP) by the end of the year.

­Bangladesh will fund all research work at the $1.5 billion site, with construction expected to be completed by 2018, according to Alexander Glukhov, Atomstroyexport president, the Russian foreign NPP construction agency, who was speaking to reporters during the ATOMEX Europe” nuclear industry forum.

“The option to build one or two nuclear units” also remains open, according to Glokhov. 

The preliminary agreement on the Rooppur NPP, signed by Rosatom, and the Bangladeshi government in February, provides for design, construction and commissioning of two power blocks with  light water (VVER) reactors with an average capacity of 2.000 megawatts, as well as relevant infrastructure.

During a meeting with the Bangladeshi PM in 2010, PM Vladimir Putin proposed expanding partnership with Russia. “We have provided preferential tariffs for some of your traditional products, but much can be done in specific areas: power generation, agriculture, trade, mineral fertilizers, and military-technical cooperation. And we’re already working on it”, – Putin said.

Russia and Bangladesh also plan to jointly develop a legal base in the area of nuclear energy and personnel training.

Peter Chankin, analyst at Unicredit Securities, says the desire to have a nuclear plant comes from the need to increase country’s geopolitical standing

“Bangladesh is not the first country to choose NPP as energy source along with further possibility of nuclear waste refinery for nuclear weapon utilization,”. Nevertheless another factor contributing to importance of NPP construction is “high costs of energy resources and raw materials such as coal, crude oil etc., given that Bangladesh has a lack of resources” says Chankin

Chankin adds that Russia is in the right position to be involved in the project which is likely to provide new market opportunities and strengthen economic and political ties.
“Russian nuclear power engineering is considered to be one of the most progressive in the world in the field of nuclear reactor design, nuclear fuel fabrication, NPP’s operations, and qualified personnel training, above all Russia occupies around 20% of nuclear fuel export.”

Bangladesh is currently building the legislative, regulatory and technological infrastructure necessary for developing its own nuclear energy. Rooppur was chosen as the site for an NPP in the 1970s.

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