As the Padma river has moved two kilometres away from the original site for the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP) in the last five decades, the government is acquiring 623 acres of additional land.
Acquiring this land on the chars of the Padma river would enable the plant builders to set up a cooling tower and enforce several safety and security measures, a top official of the RNPP said. Top officials of the land and science and technology ministries have already made several visits to oversee the land acquisition.
The Russian company NIAEP-ASE, a subsidiary of Russian state company Rosatom, which is building the plant, would build hydraulic structures and take other measures based on an on-going study to ensure that the river stays where it is required.
The plant's primary construction work is expected to begin from mid October with the view to building all primary structures, offices and residential facilities by December 2016.
"This phase includes building pioneer structure, construction and industrial base facility, which covers housing and offices of the builders and the first concrete pouring for the RNPP," said the top official.
Under a $500 million Russian loan, NIAEP-ASE last year began a series of studies including a pre-feasibility one. The pre-design works for the plant would be completed within late this year.
Once this is complete, the government would get a clear picture about the actual cost and capacity of the RNPP, where the government intends to build two 1,000 megawatt nuclear power units.
The main construction of the power plant will follow under a separate loan agreement from 2017. The discussion for this loan agreement begins this year and is expected to be finalised within late next year.
Back in the sixties, the government had acquired 259 acres of land by the Padma river for the RNPP. Over the years, the river has moved 2 to 2.5 km away from the project site. This is why the project now needs the additional land. Considering the gradual fall of water level and flow in the once mighty Padma, the existing land of the river would be needed for the project, said Shawkat Akbar, project director (PD) of RNPP.
"The availability of water for the cooling reactor is located 2 km downstream of the Hardinge Bridge, according to a survey. The study on the river to assess its possible situation over the next 100 years suggested the acquiring of river land", an official of the ministry of Science and Technology said.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the first phase of the work for the plant on October 2 last year. Under an agreement signed with Rosatom and the government on November 2, 2011, Russia will construct two units of the RNPP, each of 1,000 MW capacity.
As one of the fast track projects of the government, the prime minister regularly monitors its progress. According to officials, an inter-ministerial meeting with prime minister in the chair will take place on September 5 to discuss the project's progress and the hurdles it had been facing.