Dhaka, Oct 20 (EFE).- Russia on Thursday promised Bangladesh to supply the nuclear fuel required to kick-start the Asian country’s first atomic power plant by next year, as part of a $12.65 billion project mainly financed (90 percent) by Moscow.
“We plan to turn the construction site into a nuclear facility in the next year, specifically, to deliver fresh nuclear fuel (…). It means there will be one more nuclear facility on the planet,” Alexey Likhachev, the director general of Russia’s atomic power corporation Rasatom, said after meeting Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, as per a statement by the Russian embassy.
In 2016, Bangladesh signed an agreement with Russia to build its first two nuclear power plants in the western Rooppur area, with a total cost of $12.65 billion, with Moscow set to extend 90 percent of the funds in credit along with providing technical assistance.
The first unit is expected to begin functioning by next year – having been a delayed by a year – followed by the second in 2024. The two reactors are expected to supply 2,400 megawatts of electricity to the national grid.
Both the units will use Russian third-generation VVER1200/523 reactors (cooled and regulated by water)
As per authorities, Bangladesh aims to raise the contribution of nuclear power in its total energy production to 12 percent by 2041.
The Asian nation has been witnessing energy problem for months, especially after authorities in July decided to shut down all diesel-power plants due to the rising fuel prices in the world market.
The government then announced a series of measures to reduce power consumption. such as a ban on decorative illumination during events at homes, community centers and shopping malls as well as both government and private-sector offices.
Other austerity measures included reducing the use of air conditioners, keeping their temperature above 25 degree Celsius and asking people to complete wedding celebrations by 7pm.
Authorities also doubled the price of fuel, even though the economy has already high levels of inflation, which touched 7.56 percent in June and remained at 7.48 percent in July. During the same month, Bangladesh sought its first loan in a decade from the International Monetary Fund. EFE