The government on Friday signed a $12.65 billion general contract with a Russian company JSC Atomstroyexport (JSC ASE) to build the 2,400 MW nuclear power plant in Rooppur of Pabna, reports UNB news agency.
Senior vice president of Atomstroyexport Vladimir Savushkin signed on behalf of the Russians, while chairman of Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BEAC) Monirul Islam inked the largest ever deal on behalf of Bangladesh.
The Cabinet Purchase Committee on Wednesday approved the $12.65 billion contract, equivalent to Tk 101,200 crore or over a third of the national budget for the current fiscal (2015-16) .
Although the price of the contract might raise eyebrows, it is compensated by the long operational life of nuclear power plants, the savings in terms of fuel as uranium or thorium are relatively cheap, and low running costs. Nuclear power is also a very clean form of energy, with zero carbon emissions.
Officials said this will be the final deal signed with Russia as a General Contract (GC), for construction of the Rooppor nuclear power plant.
As per the proposed deal, the nuclear power plant will have two units each producing 1200 MW. The first unit will come into operation by October 2023 while the second unit will start producing electricity in October 2024.
Finance minister AMA Muhith, agricultural minister Matia Chowdhury, prime minister’s advisor Dr. Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury BB, state minister for foreign affairs Shahriar Alam and Russian ambassador to Bangladesh Alexander A Nikolaev were present at the historic deal’s signing at a function at Sonargoan Hotel in the city.
Science and technology minister Yeafesh Osman chaired the function.
Speaking as chief guest at the function, Muhith said the 2,400 MW nuclear power plant is the largest project in the public sector in Bangladesh.
He said all the nuclear waste generated by the project will be taken out of the country for safe disposal.
“Government has taken all precautionary measures to avoid any hassle out of the nuclear plant,” the minister said.
Russian ambassador to Bangladesh Alexander A Nikolaev said the signing of the agreement is symbolically significant but it is simultaneously a big challenge for the two sides.
“I am pretty sure that the obligation which was taken by both sides to generate power from the nuclear power plant in Rooppur is the key for vision-2021,” he added.
The project will be implemented in two phases from 2017 to 2024 at a cost of $ 12.65 billion.
Moscow will finance 90 per cent of the cost of the 2,400 MW power plant in the form of loans to the Bangladesh government.