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IAEA reviews progress of Bangladesh’s nuclear infrastructure development

Bangladesh has made noticeable progress in implementing the recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission, a team of experts concluded earlier this month.

Experts have found that a majority of the recommendations and suggestions have been acted on, but considerable work remains as Bangladesh moves forward in developing its infrastructure for a nuclear power programme, said a statement from IAEA on June 1.

Bangladesh and Russia signed a general contract on December 25 last year for the construction and commissioning of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant in Pabna at a cost of $12.65 billion.

Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission, under the Science and Technology Ministry, will implement the Rooppur project.

The 2011 INIR mission had provided recommendations and suggestions to develop an action plan for the establishment of the country’s nuclear infrastructure.

The expert team, made up of IAEA and international experts, conducted a follow-up INIR mission from May 10-14 to assess the progress and assist in prioritising further infrastructure development activities.

The expert team has identified the following main achievements: Bangladesh has established its nuclear safety regulatory body. It selected the Rooppur site in the Pabna district, 160km north of Dhaka, for the construction of the first nuclear power plant. It undertook the site characterisation and environmental impact assessment and adopted a law for the establishment of the operating organisation, the Nuclear Power Plant Company Bangladesh Limited, and strengthened coordination among relevant government entities.

But formalised procedures between the future operator and the regulatory body are yet to be laid down, the mission said.

Last year, Bangladesh signed a general contract with Atomstroyexport from the Russian Federation for the construction of two VVER 1200 nuclear power reactors at the Rooppur site.

Milko Kovachev, Head of the IAEA’s Nuclear Infrastructure Development Section, who led the follow-up INIR mission, said: “Bangladesh has chosen a turn-key contractual option, financed by a sovereign loan from Russia.”

Although Bangladesh has initiated responses to all recommendations and suggestions from the 2011 mission, the implementation of some of these needs further attention, the team concluded.

These included further strengthening the national project plan to reflect the actual status of the programme and its future challenges, finalising a national and institutional human resource plan and a national communication strategy for stakeholder involvement and public information.

Policies for the management of low and medium level radioactive waste should be formally approved, the team said.

Bangladesh government requested an INIR mission in 2009 after deciding to include nuclear power in its national energy mix, as part of efforts to address a rapidly increasing demand for energy, improve economic development and reduce dependence on natural gas.

The government subsequently requested an INIR mission. These missions enable IAEA member state representatives to have in-depth discussions with international experts about experiences and best practices in infrastructure development.

 

 

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