Bangladesh convinced of Russian reactor safety after tour of nuclear plant

08 December 2015

Bangladesh plans to "build a nuclear city" in Rooppur using Russian reactors designed with 'post-Fukushima' safety features, Anwar Hossain of the country's Ministry of Science and Technology said this week. Hossain headed a delegation on a technical tour of Russia's Novovoronezh nuclear power plant on 1-3 December.

"We are planning to build the first nuclear power plant in the country with the help of Russia. Therefore, it is highly important to study all the aspects of nuclear power plant operation, including those related to working with the population. We intend to share this knowledge with the public, as we are not only going to construct a nuclear power plant safely and confidently. We are going to build a nuclear city," Hossain said, according to a statement issued on 5 December by Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom.

The foundation stone was laid at the Rooppur site in October 2013 after Russia and Bangladesh signed an initial contract on the construction of the country's first nuclear power plant. The contract signed by NIAEP-ASE president Valery Limarenko and Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission chairman Abu Sayed Mohammed Firoz is a technical agreement covering the design stage of the project, which is expected to take about two years to complete and will form the basis for obtaining the necessary licences and starting construction of the plant.

Rooppur's two reactors will be based on a modified version of the NPP-2006 VVER (pressurized water reactor), designed exclusively for the site on the eastern bank of the river Ganges 160 km from Dhaka. Russia agreed to build the Rooppur plant in an intergovernmental agreement signed in 2011, and agreed to provide $500 million to finance preparatory work including engineering surveys, and is to provide future loans to finance the actual construction project.

The plant will use VVER-1200 technology, which fully meets the 'post-Fukushima' safety requirements, Hossain said.

The delegation, which included representatives of the administration of Pabna and Ishwardi, visited the existing Novovoronezh plant and the site of units that are under construction, as well as the plant's information centre in the city of Voronezh.

Hossain said he was "very impressed with the security systems" at the Novovoronezh plant and the way its personnel "have superbly arranged the management and operation" of its units. "We also liked the way training has been organised and were impressed with the training equipment."

A "convincing argument" in favour of nuclear safety at the plant site for the local population and environment, he said, was a presentation on fishing competitions held at the cooling pond of unit 5 and annual stocking of the surrounding waters with fish.

A meeting in Dhaka of nuclear power experts is planned for later this month, as well as a press conference "On what every journalist should know about nuclear power", he said.

Vladimir Savushkin, director of NIAEP-ASE's Moscow Branch told the delegation: "We are aware that to ensure the sustainable development of nuclear power globally, it must be an open and transparent process. Only then will people understand its advantages and the technologies that enable the safe operation of nuclear power plants."

Novovoronezh II is the lead project for the deployment of the AES-2006 design incorporating a Gidropress-designed pressurized water reactor, an evolutionary development from the VVER-1000. Construction of Novovoronezh II units 1 and 2, also known as Novovoronezh units 6 and 7, began in June 2008 and July 2009, respectively. The original Novovoronezh site nearby already hosts three operating reactors and two that are being decommissioned.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News