Construction starts on second Bangladeshi reactor

16 July 2018

First concrete for the foundation of unit 2 of the Rooppur nuclear power plant in Bangladesh was poured during a ceremony on 14 July. A construction licence for the Russian-supplied reactor was issued by the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority on 8 July.

Concreting of the basemat of Rooppur unit 2 gets under way (Image: Rosatom)

The first concrete pouring ceremony was attended by Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov and Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom's deputy director general, Alexander Lokshin.

First concrete is seen as the start of the main construction phase of a nuclear reactor. Two 1200 MWe VVER-1200 units are being built at Rooppur, which is on the eastern bank of the river Ganges at Rooppur, 160 km from Dhaka.

The VVER-1200 reactor design has already been implemented at Novovoronezh II in Russia, where the first unit of that design - a development from the VVER-1000 - entered commercial operation in February 2017. JSC AtomStroyExport (ASE), a subsidiary of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, is the general construction contractor.

Rosatom in February 2011 signed an agreement for two 1000 MWe-class reactors to be built at Rooppur for the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC). 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.

The regulator issued a design and construction licence to the BAEC in early November 2017, enabling the plant to move to the construction phase. First concrete for unit 1 of the Rooppur plant was poured at the end of that month. At unit 1, work has started on building the walls of the reactor building, their reinforcement, and laying the foundation slab of the auxiliary reactor building, as well as soil stabilisation work for the cooling tower. Rosatom said that currently 5000 tonnes of concrete is being used daily at the site and 4200 people are involved in construction works.

"Eight months ago the first concrete ceremony of Rooppur unit 1 construction was held," Lokshin said. "Today we are meeting again to start the main stage of construction of Rooppur unit 2. All the works at the Rooppur construction site are going according to schedule. And thanks to close team work [between the] Russian and Bangladeshi sides, we are doing everything possible to finish construction on time."

Rooppur unit 1 is scheduled to begin operation in 2023, with unit 2 following in 2024.

Borisov noted that more than 20% of all generating capacity in Bangladesh had been built with the participation of Russian specialists. "We hope that the Rooppur nuclear power plant will become a mega-project that will allow Bangladesh to move to a qualitatively new stage of development of its energy sector," he said.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News