Rooppur is far from Rana Plaza and Tazreen Fashion
ROOPPUR is far away from Rana Plaza and Tazreen Fashion in respect of safety features, security and protection system. The owners of Rana Plaza and Tazreen fashion constructed the factory buildings without obeying the building codes. Rana Plaza building was designed as a three-storied building but nine storeys were constructed. No competent authority seems to have checked the building to see if it was constructed as per approved design. Poor quality materials were used. Correct proportions of cement, sand, steel, stones were not used. Above all, heavy generators were pleased on the top of Rana Plaza. The building could not take the load of 3,000 workers, garments machineries, generators and other materials. Safety features like emergency exit, fire exit and protection system were not catered for from the point of building codes and engineering design. Occupancy certificate were not taken.
Mr. Harun uz Zaman and Mr. Quamrul Haider, in the September 26, 2013 issue of The Daily Star expressed concern that a nuclear accident may take place in case of fire in the control room or crack in the coolant pipe. Fire and crack may disable the control circuit which may not be able to shut down the plant, triggering an accident and leading to core damage and a massive release of radioactivity. We hope during the construction and post-operation period our engineers will achieve experience, knowledge and skill to take over the operation and maintenance of the plant. Dhaka University has already opened a nuclear science course and I urge the Buet authority to open nuclear engineering course.
Russia has designed, constructed and operated hundreds of nuclear power plants at home and abroad with complete safety, security and protection. India has been using Russian built nuclear power plants with no record of accident. France's nuclear giant Areva has been building and supplying nuclear power plants in many countries with a clean record and highest standard of safety. Worldwide, at the moment, 337 nuclear power plants are operating in 31 countries. With the world running short of power, more nuclear power plants will be built in the next 20 years.
The fear of nuclear accident, as happened in Chernobyl, is receding with safer designs for nuclear power reactors. Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan was due to natural calamity -- a tsunami -- not because of any fault in design or safety standard. In 12,991 reactor-years of operation, there was only one accident -- the one in Chernobyl. At present, nuclear safeguards have improved a lot and there is very little chance of an accident.
Finding an alternative source of energy has become more urgent since the oil price is going up steeply and natural gas is depleting in Bangladesh. On the other hand, there is no death of nuclear fuel in the world, with prospect of endless new fuel from the fast breeder reactors. Global energy economists suggest that nuclear power is the cheapest way of power generation.
Bangladesh has signed nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), Safeguards Agreements and protocol additional to the Safeguard Agreement and Bilateral Agreement on peaceful uses of atomic energy with USA, France, Japan and other countries. IAEA has always supported Bangladesh in its search for nuclear and agreed to provide all technological support for implementation of nuclear power plants.
The Pakistan government before 1971 and Bangladesh government after liberation accorded formal approval for setting up a nuclear power plant at Rooppur. The project could not, however, be implemented for various reasons. Nuclear power plant could not see the light of the day in the '60s because the central government in Pakistan had shown step-motherly attitude. After liberation of Bangladesh, a proposal was made In 1974 for construction of a nuclear power plant.
I congratulate the government of Sheikh Hasina for undertaking the bold step and implementing the cutting edge technology Rooppur power plant in her present tenure.
With addition of 2,000MW nuclear power in our grid, the Bangladesh economy will be boosted and poverty can be reduced. Bangladesh will attain the status of elite state in the committee of nations. In the next 20 years, with acquired experience and knowledge from Rooppur, we could build another nuclear plant to invigorate the economy, remove poverty and achieve prosperity of Bangladesh.
The writer is a retired Major General, and was sub-sector commander in the Liberation War.