Russia, Bangladesh start work on Unit 2 of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant
File Photo: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurating construction of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant

Bangladesh’s first nuclear power plant’s construction is underway as per the schedule. Besides, training its personnel to operate the plant, the Bangladesh government is putting policy in place to manage nuclear waste. Bangladesh cabinet recently gave its nod to ‘National Policy on Radioactive Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel Management-2019’.

The cabinet under the leadership of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina approved the policy on October 14. According to the approved policy, the government will form a company named ‘Radioactive Waste Management Company (RWMC)’ under the Bangladeshi company act to manage the disposal of radioactive waste. According to Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam, the new company will be operating under Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) and it will manage the nuclear waste management system of the country.

The policy takes a leaf from the international rules and make the radioactive waste producers bound to bear the expenses of the waste management. The policy also emphasised on keeping the usage of nuclear fuel within a rational limit.

Under the policy, the radioactive waste producers are bound to keep and store the waste with them for up to 10 years. Radioactive Waste is stored in sealed boxes. The producers must also comply with the standards set by this policy that includes, the readiness of on-demand waste unload/disposal from the nuclear reactors along with having infrastructure and system to sustain this waste management system.

Radioactive substance are used in nuclear power plants, medical industries, mineral resources collection, agriculture, fisheries and livestock research and many more activities. Even, in ultrasonography, there is the usage of radioactive material, though the scale is very limited. The RWMC will be managing and regulating the waste management of radioactive materials used in any sector of the country.

Science Secretary Anwar Hossain said that the policy is an insurance to protect and safeguard the population from any untoward incident. Like other nuclear establishments of the country, the proposed company will also comply with all the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) standards.

Rooppur will have two units of nuclear reactors and the waste produced will be taken back to Russia. Bangladesh will just store the waste only for a limited period in a sealed environment, but will not treat and dispose of the waste. A deal is already signed with Russia regarding it. The Science Secretary said that Russia being a large country have lot of places to treat radioactive waste whereas Bangladesh is a densely populated country having no room for radioactive waste treatment and disposal.

The installation of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP) is going on at full swing. The core catcher of the first unit of this plant has already been installed. The IAEA is administering various aspects of the installation of the RNPP.