Bangladesh recently received its first shipment of uranium from Russia, which will be used to fuel the country’s Rooppur nuclear power plant. The plant, financed and constructed by Russia’s Rosatom, is a significant project aimed at enhancing Bangladesh’s electrical grid and supporting its growing economy.
The Rooppur Power Plant
- The Rooppur power plant, located in Ishwardi, Bangladesh, will generate 2,400 megawatts of electricity when both units are fully operational.
- This capacity will provide electricity to approximately 15 million households in Bangladesh, making a substantial contribution to the nation’s energy needs.
- Russia has funded the construction of the Rooppur power plant with an $11.38 billion loan.
- Bangladesh will begin repaying this loan over a period of two decades, starting in 2027.
Global Nuclear Presence
- Once the Rooppur plant begins production, Bangladesh will join the ranks of over 30 countries with operational nuclear power reactors.
- The uranium shipment arrived in Bangladesh last month and was officially handed over to authorities at a ceremony attended by Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- President Putin emphasized that the plant will cover approximately 10% of Bangladesh’s energy consumption upon launch.
- Over 20,000 people were involved in the construction of the plant, with over 1,000 individuals trained to operate it.
- Prime Minister Hasina reassured her nation that the Rooppur plant has been constructed with safety measures in place to withstand natural disasters.
- Russia has also committed to taking back the spent nuclear fuel from the Rooppur plant.
Fuel Delivery Details
- The fuel for the Rooppur plant was handed over by Aleksey Likhachev, the head of Rosatom, to Bangladesh’s Science and Technology Minister Yeafesh Osman.
- Specific details about the quantity of uranium shipped were not provided in the report.
- Rafael Mariano Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, joined the ceremony via video conference.
- The first unit of the Rooppur plant is expected to become operational in July 2024, with the second unit following in July 2025.
- The delivered uranium fuel is anticipated to sustain the reactor for one year, after which additional fuel will be required.
Renewable Energy Plans
- Bangladesh is diversifying its energy sources by reducing its reliance on natural gas, investing in coal-fired power plants, and aiming to source 40% of its electricity from renewable sources like solar, wind, and hydroelectric power by 2041.
Maintaining Bilateral Relations
- Despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Bangladesh and Russia continue to maintain strong bilateral relations, cooperating in various sectors, including nuclear power, trade, and finance.