Russia Lays Foundation For First Nuclear Power Plant in Bangladesh

Rosatom is about to build a nuclear plant in Bangladesh.

The ceremonial concrete pouring was observed by our special correspondent Anton Podkovenko.

Rahima Khatun lives in a small Bengali family of five people. Her family calls her grandma Rahima. Her daughter Shati's cutting up zucchinis that Rahima will later boil over on open flame to feed her grandchildren and son-in-law. Almost 30 000 Bengali, that live in the Lakki-Kunda village at the Eastern bank of the Ganges, have never had electricity.

 

Rahima Khatun: "Living like this is hard. You need a lot of firewood to cook for the family. All Bengali women live like this. My mom taught me how".

Bangladesh is the size of our Vologda Oblast. Its population is almost 170 million people, and is still growing. They have a desperate need for electricity. Even the capital city of Dhaka has almost no street lights, and its high-rise windows are dark. Gas reserves aren't plentiful and solar cells and windmills aren't effective. The only thing remaining is the peaceful atom.

Alexey Likhachev, CEO of Rosatom: "Currently, Bangladesh is generating about 16 GW per year. They lack about 3 GW at their consumption peak a rather large number. Sure enough, the two plants will immediately cover that power shortage as well as produce some extra GW that would promote their industrial development".

The PM of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, and the CEO of Rosatom, Alexey Likhachev, took part in the ceremony. They are holding the symbolic trowels. A thousand cubic meter of concrete will be now poured inside the reinforced foundation of the reactor room of the future Ruppur plant.

Today's ceremony is dedicated to the stage called "First Concrete". This stage is no less symbolic and important than Foundation Stone Laying. In fact, the construction process truly begins now. Before there were some preparatory works that were by no means unimportant but this is a beginning of a long journey that Russian and Bengali experts will travel together.

"Ruppur" means “beautiful place” in Bengali. Even now at the beginning of the construction the site looks impressive. It's going to be a nuclear plant of the 3+ generation a post-Fukushima safety standard that's resistant to earthquakes, floods, and storms. The latter happens in Bangladesh all the time during the rainy season in Summer.

To protect Ruppur from the overflowing Ganges a dam is being built.

Sheikh Hasina, PM of Bangladesh: "It's an important day for our nation. Russia offered its help in building the Ruppur nuclear plant. We strictly obey all the safety requirements of IAEA. The project was developed in a way that completely excludes negative situations".

Hundreds of Bengali builders are engaged in the construction and guided by our experts. That means Ruppur is already creating jobs. Bengali universities are preparing the future nuclear experts that will be in charge of the first nuclear plant. Russians are helping here as well.

How will Russia benefit from it? The majority part of the invested money will return back to Russia in the form of contracts. There will be a small localization here in Bangladesh. But the majority of the contracts will be concluded with Russian companies. We think, that no less than 12 — 13 thousand jobs is the contribution of the Bengali trade the contribution that helps finance the plant that will return to Russian companies as net profit. It's another new experience for us, another opportunity to improve our technologies.

The first VVER-1200-class generator will start operating in 2023. The second one — a year after. That's a future for Bangladesh where the residents of Lakki-Kunda won't need to search for kerosene to light a lamp, or firewood to cook a meal.

Anton Podkovenko, Nikita Korneyev Maksim Evdokimov Vesti, Republic of Bangladesh.

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