The country's dream to produce nuclear energy has come a step closer as the reactor pressure vessel installation for the first unit of the under-construction Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant started on Tuesday.
The reactor pressure vessel installation work in the first reactor building will continue for the next 15 to 20 days, said officials of the nuke plant construction project.
With this, the physical work on the first unit – that has 1,200 megawatts of power generation capacity – will be completed and the power plant is expected to commence power generation from December 2022.
Dr Md Shawkat Akbar, project director at the nuclear power plant, told The Business Standard, "We will formally install the reactor pressure vessel after the prime minister inaugurates it next month."
The nuclear power plant in Pabna that consists of two units with a capacity of 1,200MW each is the country's maiden power project of its kind.
The project's construction cost, including manpower training, amounts to Tk1.13 lakh crore and 90% of it is being funded by Russia.
As per the agreement, Russian contractor Atomstroyexport will complete the first unit of the nuclear power plant in 2022 and the second one in 2023.
The nuclear power plant will start trial production by loading fuel uranium from 2024.
Once the project is completed, the country will get a large volume of environment-friendly, low-cost and reliable electricity for a long time. The project will help the government generate electricity without emitting carbon into the atmosphere.
With the first concrete pouring at the project site, work on the first unit started on 30 November 2017.
Within two years into the first concrete pouring, the construction gained momentum as the reactor support truss was installed in the design position and the third layer of the reactor building inner containment was erected at the power unit-1.
Earlier in July this year, the sixth tier of the inner containment dome of the reactor building was installed at the power unit-1.
The metal structure has been installed in its regular place on the cylindrical part of the reactor building containment.
At present, 22 organisations, including 14 from Russia, and 20,968 personnel are engaged in the construction.
The project authorities have a plan to increase the workforce up to 22,105 by the end of 2021.
Professor Dr Ashoke Kumar Paul, member (Bio-Science) at Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission, at a seminar on Tuesday said the Rooppur project will play a vital role in providing decarbonised, low-cost and reliable electricity.
According to the Power Sector Master Plan 2016, the government has set a target to build a capacity to produce 60,000MW of electricity by 2041. Of which, 10% or 6,000MW capacity will be built through nuclear energy.
At present, the country can generate 22,000MW of on-grid electricity.