Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission yesterday formally received the design and construction license of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant Unit-1, paving the way for the main construction work
The commission received the license 'with some conditions' from Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority (BAERA) at a ceremony in the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Dhaka hotel in the capital.
Talking to journalists, NPP Project Director Dr Shawkat Akbar said having the license proves that the nuclear power plant and its technological components are safe and it gives project authorities the legal go ahead with the construction.
“From today, we have the legal authority to start the main construction,” he added.
The design and construction licenses have been prepared by BAERA with the help of experts from International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Russia and India after evaluating all the regulatory documents.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will formally inaugurate the main phase construction on November 30, Shawkat said.
Russia's state-owned Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation will implement the project. It will be the most expensive project in the country.
As per Rosatom's plan, construction of the first plant is expected to be completed by 2022. Earlier, Bangladesh and Russia inked a number of deals for the construction of the two nuclear power plants with each set to have 1200-megawatt capacity.
Speaking at the ceremony, Minister for Science and Technology, Yeafesh Osman said that after receiving the license, Bangladesh has now entered “the world's Nuclear Club”.
The NPP is a dream project for the whole country and it proves that Bangladesh can do it, he said, urging the atomic energy commission authorities to dedicate themselves fully to the project while maintaining due transparency.
“It's a rare chance for the atomic energy commission to prove the country's ability,” the minister added.
Last year, 10 eminent citizens of the country called upon the government to cancel the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant deal with Russia as the project involves potential environmental risks. Green activists had also protested the decision.
Speaking as special guest, Prime Minister's Economic Affairs Adviser Mashiur Rahman said the government is not only interested in building the nuclear power plant but also fully concerned about ensuring the safety.
Handing over the license, BAERA Chairman Naiyyum Choudhury said the success of the project relies on proper maintenance of nuclear regulation which appears to be a big responsibility.
Alexey Ferapontov, deputy chairman of Russian Federation regulatory body Rostechnadzor, said his country is committed to helping Bangladesh implement the power plant project while great responsibility and unity is required to go ahead with the project.
The Rooppur project will be Bangladesh's first atomic energy project. With the completion of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, Bangladesh will be the third South Asian country, after India and Pakistan, to harness energy from atomic fission.
Abul Kalam Azad, chief coordinator for SDG affairs at the Prime Minister's Office, and BAEC Chairman Dilip Kumar Saha, among others, spoke at the ceremony.