Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP) is going to officially receive a fresh batch of uranium from the Russian contractor, Rosatom, at a formal “Graduation Ceremony” tomorrow (Thursday).
According to official sources, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Russian President Vladimir Putin are expected to virtually join the ceremony to mark the occasion.
Sources said, Director General of the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom, Aleksey Likhachev, will hand over the fuel officially to the project authority in Rooppur project.
Science and Technology Minister Architect Yeafesh Osman will preside over the function while Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will join the ceremony through video conference.
Ail Hossain, Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology, said that all arrangements are ready for making the Graduation Ceremony a success.
Earlier, the first batch of uranium, the nuclear fuel of the first unit of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, arrived in Bangladesh on September 28. The consignment of uranium arrived in Dhaka from Russia through a special air cargo and it was moved to the nuclear power plant site by road under heavy security the next day.
The nuclear fuel was brought to Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka by a special plane from a factory in Russia.
The fuel was produced at the Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrates Plant (NCCP) in Russia, a subsidiary of Rosatom’s fuel manufacturing company Tevel.
Rosatom, as a Russian contractor, has been engaged in building the 2400 MW Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant with two units, each with the capacity of producing 1200 MW electricity.
The nuclear reactor of the first unit of the power plant was loaded in October 2021 while reactor for second unit was installed in October 2022.
The government conceived the idea of setting up the RNPP project in 2009 and signed a memorandum of understanding with the Russian Federation on May 13 in 2009 on the “Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy.”
On January 15, 2013, an agreement regarding State Export Credit of US$ 500 million was signed for carrying out preparatory phase construction works of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant.
The government signed a US$12.65 billion general contract (GC) in 2015 with the Russian Federation for building the nuclear power plant in Rooppur.
Bangladesh signed a credit agreement with Russia to obtain $11.385 billion Russian credit for RNPP in July 2016. The credit covers 90 percent of the project cost.
The Ministry of Science and Technology recently said that the first unit of the plant may come into operation in July 2024 and the second unit in July 2025.
However, Project Director of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Project Dr. M Shawkat Akbar said that the government is expecting to commission the first unit of the RNPP in September next year and second unit in mid of 2025.
Though the 1200 MW first unit of the nuclear power plant at Rooppur is expected to start production from next year, the Power Division and Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) are still in dark about the possible tariff of the electricity of the plant.
According to sources at the Power Division, the officials of the BPDP sat in a number of meetings with the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) to discuss a possible power tariff of the plant, but they failed to get a clear picture in this regard.
The BAEC has been implementing the RNPP project and the BPDB will purchase electricity from the Russian-aided plant under a long-term agreement.
A top official of the BPDB, however, said that they have made a primary calculation on the basis of the data derived from the discussions with BAEC and reports in the newspaper and tariff of per unit electricity of the RNPP will be not less than Tk 10.
According to some local experts’ calculation the power tariff of the RNPP project will cross $0.08 -0.10 (8-10 US cents).
One of the country’s eminent power tariff experts, Mizanur Rahman, former Member of Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC), said the electricity tariff from the nuclear power project will be more than over $0.085 (8.5 Cents).
Source: The Daily SUN.