Sunday, 5 December, 2021

1,200 acres land sought for future expansion of Rooppur plant

The Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) is seeking additional 1200 acres of land for future expansion of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, reliable sources said.

The country’s first-ever nuclear power plant will have the capacity to produce 2400MW of electricity. The two units of the plant having the capacity of 1200MW each is expected to start electricity generation in early 2024.

The proposed expansion will soar the capacity of the nuclear power plant to 4800MW.

The MoST has placed a proposal before a technical committee last month for allocation of the additional land. The technical committee comprises of 24 secretaries of different ministries. 

 “We are expecting to get the additional land for future expansion of the plant,” an official concerned said on the condition of anonymity.

The government has already allocated 800 acres of land for the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant.

Another 19 acres of land at Char Rooppur Moja has also been acquired from landowners for the mega project.

The plant authorities have already allocated fund to acquire the land as the high-powered committee asked the deputy commissioner (DC) office of Pabna for providing compensation to the families affected, sources said.

The government also allowed the authorities concerned to use additional 400 acres of land at the south of the plant for any future expansion of the plant.

The expansion of the nuclear plant also been mentioned in the power system master plan.

The unit-1 is expected to commence provisional takeover or pre-commercial operation on February 17, 2024, from previously scheduled October 2023. The unit-1 of the plant will commence operations in February 2025, official sources confirmed.      

Besides, the work of loading uranium fuel into the first reactor will begin on February 21, 2023, as per the new schedule. It will be on October 8, 2023, for unit-2.

The start of test and checking equipment for unit-1 will begin on January 19, 2022, reliable sources said after attending at a review meeting chaired by Science and Technology Minister Architect Yeafesh Osman.

On March 20, 2020, during the initial stage of the COVID-19 outbreak, the contractor of the Rooppur Nuclear Power sought to put the ‘Force Majeure’ measures in effect to avoid liability caused by the disruptions caused by the global pandemic.

The Finance Ministry of the Russian Federation has allocated $1600 million in the current year with the condition of 0.5 per cent of commitment fees as per the IGCA credit deal with Bangladesh for implementing the power project.

Bangladesh has so far spent $454.04 million out of the fund disbursed for the project in 2020. The foundation stone of the Tk 1130.92 billion fast-track power plant was laid in October 2013 and construction started on 1,062 acres of land in November 2017 after singing intergovernmental credit agreement (IGCA) in July 2016.

Bangladesh’s Economic Relations Division may seek to reschedule the credit allocated for the current year to the Russian finance ministry as COVID-19 crisis slowed down the progress of the project in the current year, sources said.         

According to sources, Nuclear Power Plant Company Bangladesh Limited is implementing 74 installations and infrastructures including reactor building, reactor auxiliary buildings, turbine buildings, normal and power supply buildings for unit-1 and unit-2 for setting up the Rooppur nuclear power project.

The contractor has so far completed over 34.43 meters of the inner containment structure, over 8.35 meters of the outer wall, over 11.3 meters of reactor cavity wall and over 3.55 meters of adjacent structure wall for unit-1 of the power plant.

Besides, reactor auxiliary building construction work also progressed over 4.75 meters.

The construction work of the unit-2 is also progressing.

The construction work for a training centre with NPP training simulator also progressed 75 per cent, officials said. The river training of River Padma near the project site has also made significant progress.

Some 2417 foreigners are now working for NPP site and another 2500 foreigners will join the project within December.         

Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant will consist of two power units equipped with two VVER reactors, the life cycle of which is 60 years with an option to extend the service life for another 20 years. The power capacity of each unit will be 1200 MW.

In 2017, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the construction of the main concrete structure for the nuclear furnace, with the construction beginning in July of the following year.