Talks with Russia start to set up Nuke power plant
Bangladesh and Russia yesterday launched a three-day talk on an agreement for assistance in setting up nuclear power plants in Bangladesh so that Bangladesh can peacefully use nuclear energy.
A two-member delegation led by Vladimir Averkeiv, the head of international co-operation of Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation, gave an overview on Russian technology on the first day of talks. Nikolay Poznyakov, head of external affairs of International Relations Department, is accompanying him.
"We will be discussing the possible deal with Moscow," said MM Neazuddin, a joint secretary to the Ministry of Science, Information and Communication Technology and the leader of Bangladesh delegation.
During the dialogue held at the Ministry of Science and ICT conference room, the Russian team highlighted the technical aspects of a 1,000megawatt (MW) nuclear power plant, officials of the ministry said.
The Russian representatives will be briefed on Bangladesh situation, particularly on preparation and infrastructure developed so far at Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, as originally taken up in 1961.
The team is also expected to visit headquarters of Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC).
Bangladesh aims to set up two medium-sized nuclear power plants by 2017. It has started discussions with countries capable of manufacturing such plants after the Awami League (AL)-led grand alliance government assumed office early January.
The countries include China, South Korea and France. "We will try to have at least two nuclear power plants of 1,000MW generation capacity as early as possible," said Neazuddin.
The Russian team also gave a power-point presentation on Russian technology to the state minister for science and ICT at his office.
About the discussion on a draft of an agreement for peaceful use of nuclear energy between Bangladesh and Russia, the joint secretary said after initial discussion, the matter would be referred to higher authorities for their consideration.
On the second day, the two sides will discuss cost and financing of the proposed project.
Dhaka is still uncertain about how to finance the nuclear power project. A medium-sized plant requires between $1.5 billion and $2 billion, according to a paper prepared by the science and ICT ministry.
The final decision to set up the power plant will be made after reviewing offers from other countries. The government had also talks with China and South Korea on the matter, and more discussion is expected in future with other countries.
The Bangladesh delegation comprised of acting Chairman of BAEC Liakat Ali, Project Director of Nuclear Power Plant Shawkat Akbar, former chairman of BAEA Shafiqul Islam and Director of Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research Rafiqul Islam.
The government is seriously considering the nuclear power option against the backdrop of severe power crisis and bleak future of power generation with traditional resources.
However, experts are worried about financing the project as they estimated that setting up a 600MW nuclear power plant would cost between $900 million and $1.2 billion.