Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has asked Rosatom to consider building a second NPP at Rooppur during talks with Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev. In a press briefing after the meeting, Sheikh Hasina’s speech writer M Nazrul Islam said she had told Rosatom that her government would like to construct another NPP at Rooppur on completion of the current project.

The Rooppur plant is being built by Rosatom on the eastern bank of the Ganges River in Bangladesh’s Pabna district, about 160 km northwest of Dhaka. It will comprise two VVER-1200 reactors. In November 2011, Russia and Bangladesh signed an inter-governmental agreement on cooperation in the construction of the NPP and in mid-December 2015, a general contract was signed. Construction began in 2021. Construction of the unit 1 began in November 2017 and unit 2 in July 2018. Concreting of the unit 1 NZO was completed in March 2023. The plant’s design life is 60 years with the possibility of extending its operating life for another 20 years. Fresh fuel for the units was delivered to the site in the latter part of 2023.

Sheikh Hasina noted that a technical survey would be required before proceeding with two new units. She has also directed the relevant authorities to complete all formalities required to enable Russia to take back used fuel from the Rooppur plant. Likhachev gave assurances on arrangements for the used fuel and undertook to complete all the necessary formalities.

Dhaka and Moscow have already signed an agreement regarding the return of the spent nuclear fuel from the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant to Russia. He briefed Sheikh Hasina of the progress in building the Rooppur NPP noting that 85% of the work has been completed. He said the plant will start commercial operation in 2025. He proposed building two additional units (3&4) at the plant site. He said construction of the new units could start as soon as f the first two were completed.

Following a visit to the construction site, Likhachev said some 2,500 workers, including Bangladeshis and Russians, have been working on the project. Sheikh Hasina asked Rosatom to use Bangladeshi expertise in other NPP construction projects.

“Implementation of the Rooppur NPP construction project is approaching a key milestone – the physical launch of unit 1, which should take place before the end of this year,” he said. “Now we are starting to discuss new projects with the Bengali side expressing great interest in the construction of two more power units at the Rooppur site. In addition, the possibility of constructing a high-power multi-purpose research reactor in Bangladesh is being developed, which will be able to solve problems in the field of science and nuclear medicine.” He also said Rosatom was offering the option of floating nuclear power plants and small modular reactors.

Image: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, right, meets with Rosatom's director general, Alexey Likhachev (courtesy of ASE/Rosatom)