Russia's Rosatom has completed concreting the foundation of unit 1 of the Rooppur nuclear power plant in Bangladesh. ASE Group, a subsidiary of the Russian state nuclear corporation, said today the project to build the Asian country's first nuclear power unit was on schedule.
Shawkat Akbar, project director for the Bangladeshi side, said similar work would start soon on the second unit. He added that, in accordance with a tripartite memorandum on cooperation in the implementation of the project to build Rooppur NPP, 50 young specialists from Bangladesh will be sent to India for training.
The memorandum was signed on 1 March in Moscow by Rosatom's deputy director general for international relations, Nikolay Spassky, Bangladesh's ambassador in Russia, S M Saiful Hoque, and the ambassador of India in Russia, Pankaj Saran.
Construction of Rooppur 1 officially began in November last year.
Two 1200 MWe VVER units are to be built at Rooppur, which is on the eastern bank of the river Ganges, 160 km from Dhaka. The VVER-1200 reactor design has already been implemented at Novovoronezh II in Russia, where the first unit of that design - an evolutionary development from the VVER-1000 - entered commercial operation in February.
Rosatom in February 2011 signed an agreement for two 1000 MWe-class reactors to be built at Rooppur for the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission. The initial contract for the project, worth USD12.65 billion, was signed in December 2015. The Bangladesh Atomic Regulatory Authority issued the first site licence for the Rooppur plant in June 2016, allowing preliminary site works, including geological surveys, to begin. The regulator issued a design and construction licence to the BAEC last month, enabling the plant to move to the construction phase.
A ceremony was held on 30 November to mark the pouring of the first concrete for the basemat of Rooppur unit 1. First concrete is seen as the start of the main construction phase of a nuclear reactor. Unit 1 is scheduled to be commissioned in 2023, with commissioning of Rooppur 2 following in 2024.