Bangladesh considering two more nuclear units at Rooppur

03 April 2024

Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said the country is keen to build two more units at the Rooppur nuclear power plant, which is currently under construction.

The prime minister, right, with Rosatom's director general, left (Image: ASE/Rosatom)

She made the comments during a meeting with Rosatom Director General Alexei Likhachev, saying "we are interested in building" more nuclear power units at Rooppur, "if there is any scope to do so" and added: "I would request you to utilise Bangladeshi expertise in other nuclear power plant construction projects."

Likhachev confirmed they were "starting the discussion of new projects" including the construction of two more power units at the Rooppur NPP site, but also the "possibility of construction of a multi-purpose high power research reactor is being reviewed".

He added that the "Rooppur NPP construction project is approaching one of the most important milestones - the physical start-up of unit 1, which is to take place before the end of the year".

According to a Dhaka Tribune report on the meeting, based on a briefing from the prime minister's team, Hasina stressed the need for technical surveys to be carried out as the initial stage for planning new units "but her government seeks to build another nuclear power plant in Rooppur on completion of the ongoing project".

It also reported on the inter-state agreement regarding the return of used nuclear fuel from Rooppur to Russia and said Likhachev had reported that the country's first nuclear power plant was now 85% completed, with the aim being to start supplying electricity to the national grid in 2025. Regarding the potential expansion of the plant, he suggested that construction of third and fourth units should begin as soon as possible after the completion of the first two to make the most of the trained and experienced workforce.

He also said Rosatom was offering the option of floating nuclear power plants and small modular reactors, according to a report by the Russian Tass news agency of an interview on Russian television.

The Rooppur plant, 160 kilometres from the capital Dhaka, features two Russian VVER-1200 reactors. Rosatom in February 2011 signed an agreement for two reactors to be built at Rooppur for the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission. The initial contract for the project, worth USD12.65 billion, was signed in December 2015. The Bangladesh Atomic Regulatory Authority issued the first site licence for the Rooppur plant in June 2016, allowing preliminary site works, including geological surveys, to begin. Construction of the first unit began in November 2017. Construction of the second unit began in July 2018. They have an initial life-cycle of 60 years, with a further 20-year extension possible.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News