Bangladesh`s entrance into the prestigious league of nuclear power nation
I would remember this day-November 04, 2017-as one of my most memorable days ever. Our hard works and determinations have paid fruits as in this Design and Construction License ceremony of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant; we receive the license for unit-1 of the power plant. I extend my sincere gratitude to the organiser, Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority (BAERA ) for organising the Design and Construction License ceremony timely. It is obviously an important event in the history of nuclear power programme of Bangladesh. This will be written in the pages of history as a moment of pride for us as for the first time Bangladesh has obtained the Design and Construction License for Rooppur NPP with VVER-1200, ASE-2006 reactor and have entered into the prestigious league of nuclear power nation. This license has permitted us to start the construction of country’s first nuclear power plant, the Rooppur NPP. After receiving the Design and Construction License, the first concrete pouring ceremony for unit-1 of Rooppur NPP will be held in the presence of the Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on November 30, 2017. Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority has granted this Design and Construction License following a thorough evaluation of the preliminary safety analysis report (PSAR), some other extensive and specific documents concerning Rooppur NPP site safety, Rooppur NPP technology and its safety systems, construction methodology and organisational matters submitted by the applicant, Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC). Developing licensing process and assessment of PSAR documents and other technical documents is a complex and challenging task, but BAERA has taken that challenges and has established the licensing framework; granted the Siting License of Rooppur in June 21, 2016, performed assessment of the PSAR documents, various technical and safety documentations of Rooppur NPP and finally has granted the Design and Construction License in a short period of time. We are grateful to BAERA Chairman Dr Naiyyum Chowdhury for his leadership in this regard and to Honorable Science and Technology Minister Architect Yeafesh Osman, Principal Coordinator of SDG Affairs of Prime Minister`s Office Abul Kalam Azad and Science and Technology Secretary Md Anwar Hossain for their constant support and guidelines. I am grateful to my project personnel, BAEC and contractor for timely preparing and submitting the relevant documents and information to BAERA and time to time consultation with BAEAR. I would love to term this ceremony as an announcement to our nation about the readiness of Bangladesh in constructing Rooppur NPP and also a notification regarding the safety assurance of Rooppur NPP construction site. The Rooppur NPP will be constructed at the site as required by the legislation and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) guidelines. The design and construction license is authorizing BAEC to use the project site for construction of the unit-1 of the Rooppur NPP with VVER-1200, AES-2006 design. The Design and Construction License establishes the requirements and conditions for performing the activities related to construction of the foundation plate under the reactor building, construction of main buildings and structures of the Rooppur NPP unit-1, construction of auxiliary buildings and structures of the unit-1. I am happy to understand that based on the regulatory approach of the Design and Construction License, BAERA along with TSO will make independent audits and inspections conformity assessment to confirm that all the equipment and components of Rooppur NPP will be manufactured following the approved design and working documentations, industry and quality standards and proven engineering practices. We believe that along with BAERA, my project authority will establish a robust procurement, inspection, and auditing processes during manufacturing of the equipment in Russian Federation and construction and erection activities at Rooppur NPP site. As a project director of Rooppur NPP, I am confident that all activities under this present Design and Construction License will be performed strictly complying the terms and conditions of this license as well as international standards and IAEA recommendations. We are assuring that the objective of the principle-1 of the IAEA Fundamental Safety Principles which states that “the prime responsibility for safety must rest with the person or organisation responsible for facilities and activities that give rise to radiation risk” will be fulfilled by us and we will build a safe and secured NPP at Rooppur according to the construction schedule and within the budget. Dr. Mohammad Shawkat Akbar, is a nuclear scientist andProject Director of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant.
‘Challenges of hydrocarbon exploration and mining in Bangladesh’
Development of petroleum and mining sectors are fundamental to a healthy growth of energy and power sectors, the main drivers of the economic development of a nation. In both counts Bangladesh falls short of its true potentials. The country is yet to unearth its true natural gas prospects. Also a significant coal reserve based in the north Bengal remains undeveloped. A robust petroleum and mining development program and a qualified national work force may significantly change if not reverse the notion of almost total dependence on imported fuels in the next decade as envisaged in the master plan. Considering the growth of gas demand it is reasonable to suggest that the country will run out of its present gas reserves in a decade. However, geological interpretations suggest that significant gas resources are yet to be discovered in the country in the onshore and offshore areas. Bangladesh has not reached a mature stage of petroleum exploration and all of its gas discoveries are found in simple conventional plays i.e. anticlinal traps in the eastern fold belt in the country. There remains an area of untapped gas plays known as stratigraphic plays which are theoretically distributed all over the country but hardly explored. Furthermore the unconventional plays like thin bed plays, synclinal plays, tight sand plays, over-pressured plays are areas which have very good geological prospects but little explored. Some of these kind of prospects are proven by the successes in adjacent Tripura state of India which is geologically same as eastern Bangladesh. The offshore Bangladesh is the least explored area. The Indian part of the Bay to the west of Bangladesh sea and the Myanmar part to the east, both have registered significant gas discoveries in the last ten years. Specially the Rakhain offshore basin of Myanmar lying adjacent to the south eastern offshore area of Bangladesh has large and recent gas successes. Considering the fact that the offshore Rakhain Basin and SE offshore Bangladesh belong to single geological entity, gas prospects in the Bangladesh part should be equally bright. The above discussion leads to the conclusion that the remaining gas prospects of Bangladesh has been underplayed at recent time. On the other hand the planning and implementation to build up infrastructures and logistics for costly LNG have been overly played. It is understood that import of LNG to tackle the running gas crisis is justified in the face of no alternative available immediately. But the merit of planning major dependence on imported and costly LNG for a long term is certainly questionable. This will inevitably give the economy a major shock as the power and industrial products generated will be costly and may not be sustainable. Bangladesh has significant mineable coal reserves stored in four coal fields in the north Bengal. The total in situ coal amounts to an estimated 2000 million tonnes in these coal fields. Only one coal field, Barapukuria has been developed and produces coal at an annual rate of 1 million tonne per year. Because of the fact that the coal fields lie underneath fertile agricultural land in a thickly populated area and the fact that inherent hydrological problem make open cast mining difficult, the present government’s stand of not to develop open cast mining seems reasonable. But these coal fields may be developed by underground mines. The recovery of coal by underground mining may be optimized by state of art technology. This will certainly reduce the dependence on imported fuels and will promote self reliance make better economic sense. At the same time developing a dedicated national expert work force to take the challenges of petroleum and mining development activities is vitally important. Expanding and increasing the institutional capabilities are prerequisite to achieve that goal. Dr. Badrul Imam is an energy expert and professor of Geology of Dhaka University.