Bangladesh has held a ceremony to officially receive the first Russian shipment of uranium fuel for its $12.65 billion nuclear power plant project which is expected to start operations next year.
The South Asian country would be the 33rd country in the world to produce nuclear power.
“Today is a day of pride and joy for the people of Bangladesh,” Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said during a video conference with Russian President, Vladimir Putin, at the project site where the ceremony was held.
President Vladimir Putin thanked the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for supervising the project, which resulted from a bilateral agreement in 2011.
“Bangladesh stands as a success story for newcomer countries in nuclear power development, advancing its programme under the [IAEA’s] guidance,” IAEA head, Rafael Grossi, said in a post on social media.
Alexey Likhachev, Director General of Rosatom, Architect Yeafesh Osman, the Minister for Science and Technology of Bangladesh, and other top officials of Bangladesh were present at the ceremony.
Bangladesh is building two nuclear power plants, with the first unit of the plant having a total generation capacity of 2,400 Megawatts.
The country is collaborating with the Russian state-owned atomic company, Rosatom.
Ninety per cent of the project is financed through a Russian loan repayable within 28 years with a 10-year grace period.
Alexey Likhachev, Rosatom Director General, gave a certificate to Architect Yeafesh Osman, the Minister for Science and Technology of Bangladesh, confirming the delivery of the fuel in compliance with all the safety standards and requirements.
The fuel for Rooppur NPP was manufactured in Russia at Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrates Plant (NCCP), an enterprise of Rosatom’s Fuel Division. The fuel manufacture and transportation were performed under the active guidance and supervision of the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority (BAERA).
“This day marks a new stage in the development of Russian-Bangladeshi relations. After the delivery of nuclear fuel, Rooppur NPP becomes a nuclear facility, and the People’s Republic of Bangladesh gets the status of a country that possesses peaceful nuclear technologies.
“For Rosatom, it is a great honour to implement a project which will ensure a stable power supply and help preserve the unique nature of Bangladesh for future generations,” said Alexey Likhachev, Director General of Rosatom State Corporation, during the ceremony.
“We’ve been waiting for this special moment for a long time. It is a celebration not only for the people of Pabna district but also for the entire nation. On October 5 we received the fuel delivery certificate, which speaks about our achievements as a nation. Bangladeshi people are vibrant and colourful and we are going to celebrate it in a very colourful manner. The entire nation is in a festive mood,” said Architect Yeafesh Osman, Minister for Science and Technology, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.