Implementation of Rooppur nuclear power plant being built in Bangladesh by Russia is likely to be delayed by a year, according to Maksim Elchishchev, NIAEP vice-president in charge of the project. However, he dismissed speculation that there are some disagreements between Bangladesh and Russia over the updated design proposed for what will now be a 2400MWe plant.

"We hoped the commercial operation of the project would commence in 2022. But this depends on signing the general contract for the project," he said at a press briefing in Dakka in early October. Elchishchev said Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom has offered a VVER-1200 reactor for Rooppur NPP, the latest generation of the VVER-1000, which was the first choice for the Bangladesh project when the agreement was signed in 2010 between Bangladesh and Russia to set up a 2000MWe plant by 2021.

"The VVER-1200 will be a new generation reactor with more safety and security features," Elchishchev said. Clearing the misconception over whether Bangladesh prefers the VVER-1000 reactor as it has a proven track record while VVER-1200 is a "new one" having no track record, he said: "There is no debate between the two sides on the issue."

Elchishchev also said the feasibility study for the Rooppur NPP had been completed and submitted to the government for the next course of action. On the basis of the feasibility study, the design of the project is being prepared by Russian experts. He added that negotiations are still going on to sign the general contract, hopefully by the end of the year.

Elchishchev said the Rooppur construction cost has yet to be determined. "This will be fixed through negotiation," he noted.