Energy Bangla

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Dhaka Saturday,  Apr 17, 2021

BD to purchase Uranium at Intl Market Price

Rafiqul Bashar

Bangladesh will buy Uranium as a nuclear fuel needed for the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP) at international market price. Therefore, there will be no fixed rate for purchasing the Uranium from the Russians. A guideline is already being made regarding the purchase tariffs of the Uranium.

An Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) is likely to be signed between Bangladesh and Russia in this regard in the first week of this month. In fact, Russia will be supplying the nuclear fuel needed for the RNPP throughout its entire lifetime according to the Inter-state cooperation agreement between Bangladesh and Russia.

Science and Technology Secretary Anwar Hossain said to Energy Bangla that Bangladesh is going to buy Uranium from Russia as they are implementing the RNPP. A draft deal is already being prepared stating the outline on the rates and procedures of purchasing Uranium from Russia which will serve the interest of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh has already signed a deal with Russia to procure the required Uranium for the first 2 years-long operations of the RNPP. So, Bangladesh won’t need nuclear fuel up until 2027. Therefore, now the GoB is going to sign this agreement for the nuclear fuel that will be required after the first 2 years of operation.

TVEL Joint Stock Company, a Russian nuclear fuel cycle company based in Moscow, will supply the Uranium to the RNPP. According to estimation, the two reactors of RNPP will require nuclear fuel worth about $1.4 billion throughout its 50-years of economic lifespan. Each of the reactors of the RNPP will require refuelling of nuclear fuel, once in every 18 months. World Nuclear Agency has fixed the price of Uranium at $550 per kg until 2027.

Uranium extracted from the mine is sold through tenders in the international market. Before placing a purchase order of the Uranium, a ‘pre-price’ needs to be fixed and of this price, 50 percent depends on the price of Uranium itself and the other 50 percent depends on annual depreciation of dollars and euros. The price will be determined according to the prices available in the world market at the time of supply of fuel or uranium.

Anwar Hossain also said that the tariff of purchasing the Uranium won’t be a fixed amount rather it will depend on the international. Yet, the government has outlined a framework to procure nuclear fuel at international market rates. Since it is a long-term contract, it would not be wise to set prices for a five year or ten-year span, he added.

On January 31 of this year, Bangladesh had signed a ‘nuclear fuel support contract deal’ with Russia to ensure fuel supply for the RNPP for the entire lifetime of the power plant. On August 30, 2017, Bangladesh signed the ‘spent fuel sent back’ deal with the Russian Federation for management of the nuclear waste of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP).

The total cost of implementing the RNPP is estimated as TK 1 lac 13 thousand 92 crores and 91 lac or $12.65 billion. The power plant is expected to provide an uninterruptible power supply with having a maximum capacity of 2400 MW. The cost of operating the power plant will be just TK 1 thousand crores per year.

Russia is about to provide $11.38 billion for the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant as a loan which is 90 percent of the total estimated cost $12.65 billion. Bangladesh has already signed the $11.38 billion credit deal with the Russian Federation.

The first unit of the RNPP is expected to be commissioned in 2023 and the second one is to be operational from 2024. These two units of the RNPP will be capable of supplying a maximum of 2,400 MW of power to the national grid once they start operation.

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