Bangladesh signed a nuclear fuel supply agreement with Russia on Tuesday for the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP) project.
As the implementing agency of the RNPP project, Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) inked the deal with the Russian state-owned nuclear fuel firm TVEL Joint Stock Company at a function at Sonargaon Hotel in the city.
Addressing the signing ceremony, Science and Technology Minister Yeafesh Osman urged reporters not to report anything that may harm the project. “Please don’t write any report that may harm the RNPP project and destroy the country’s image,” he said.
As per the agreement signed with TVEL, the Russian firm will supply fuel for the ‘entire lifetime’ of the 2,400 MW RNPP project.
According to the Inter-governmental Agreement (IGA) signed with the Moscow in November 2011, Dhaka is required to procure nuclear fuel from the Russian company for the entire life span of the power plant.
Each unit of the power plant will have to reload one-third of the total required nuclear fuel after every 18 months and the first, second and third reloads will be provided by the Russian firm free of cost.
Each reloading of nuclear fuel will cost $62 million, equivalent to Tk 500.24 crore.
The Bangladesh government has engaged Russian nuclear energy firm Rosatom as contractor of the RNPP project at a cost of $12.65 billion.
Besides, officials said, Rosatom has been paid $550 million for a feasibility study and the project design.
Initially, it was projected by the contractor that the first unit of the RNPP will come into operation by 2022, while the second unit by 2024. But now the BAEC officials say the first unit will start operation in February 2023.
The signing ceremony was also addressed by Russian Ambassador Alexander I Ignatov, Principal Coordinator of SDG Affairs Abul Kaloam Azad, Science and Technology Secretary Anwar Hossain and BEAC Chairman Mahbubul Haque.