Bangladesh has received its initial ship of uranium fuel from Russia for its first Moscow-built Rooppur nuclear power plant.
The activation of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant would make Bangladesh the 33rd nation in the world to use atomic energy.
The graduation ceremony of Bangladesh’s 1st nuclear power plant located in the western district of Pabna was attended via video link by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Addressing the event, Putin said Russia’s bilateral relations with Bangladesh are deep and would gain strength in the days ahead, according to Anadolu Agency.
“I emphasize that Bangladesh is our tested friend, and we are old friends. This friendship is being built on equality, mutual respect, and being accepting of each other’s interests,” he added.
Live photos from #RooppurNPP construction site
Nuclear fuel delivery ceremony has started pic.twitter.com/LCUsrmPHEP
— Embassy of Russia in Bangladesh (@RussEmbDhaka) October 5, 2023
Stressing that the Rooppur power plant would be completed on time, he said its first unit would be activated by the end of next year and its second in 2026.
Bangladesh uranium shipment, Bangladesh first nuclear power plant, Rooppur nuclear power plant, Russian uranium
For her part, Hasina said Bangladesh was committed to using nuclear power for peace and prosperity, thanking Russia for its “tested” friendship.
Noting that Russia had given assurances it would take back nuclear waste produced by the facility, she added that the plant would be part of the country’s vision for a “Smart Bangladesh.”
Bangladesh Science and Technology Minister Yafes Osman received the package at the project site from Director General Aleksey Likhachev of Moscow’s state atomic energy corporation Rosatom.
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The uranium will be among the first to fuel the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant once the facility’s remaining distribution network is complete.
Osman was cited as saying the first unit at Rooppur will become operational in July 2024 and the second in July 2025. The fuel is expected to allow the reactor to operate for one year, after which more fuel will have to be loaded, Associated Press reported.
The uranium was produced at the Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrates Plant in Russia, a subsidiary of Rosatom’s fuel manufacturing company Tevel.
Dhaka has signed several contracts with Moscow on cooperation in the nuclear power industry, trade and finances, and in other sectors.
Bangladesh has planned to rely less on natural gas, which now accounts for about half of power production in the country. It is also setting up coal-fired power plants while it has a long-term plan to source 40% of the nation’s electricity from renewable sources such as solar, wind and hydroelectric power by 2041.