November 30, 2017 has been a day of many firsts for Bangladesh. The country witnessed the pouring of the First Concrete of its first nuclear power plant at Rooppur. To commemorate it a postal stamp was released. The public mood was also jubilant as a flash mob of 300 local students formed a sign of “I LOVE ROOPPUR”.
The pouring of First Concrete marks the beginning of the main construction of the nuclear power plant – a Bangladesh-India-Russia collaboration. The Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant will have two modern power units each of 1200 MW capacity and the latest Generation 3+ Russian VVER 1200 reactors will be set up at the plant. The project has been realization of decades old dream. While India and Pakistan managed to have a nuclear reactor in about a decade of independence, Bangladesh has waited for long even though the RNPP was conceived in 1960s.
On November 30, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was the Chief Guest at the first concrete pouring ceremony, along with Alexey Likhachev, the Director General of Russia’s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation. To mark the ceremony, Ministry for Science and Technology, Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) and Russia`s State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom released commemorative stamp, envelope and a canceler.
On the stamp, there is a photo of a nuclear power plant on the background of rising sun, symbolizing the beginning of a new era of nuclear energy in Bangladesh. The envelope has the photos of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Father of the Nation; and her daughter Prime Minister Hasina acknowledging their visionary and pioneering role in implementing the country’s first ever nuclear power plant.
The project was initiated through an intergovernmental agreement between Bangladesh and Russia in November 2011. Prime Minister Hasina laid the foundation stone of the Rooppur NPP on October 2, 2013. On December 25, 2015, BAEC signed the General Contract for construction of Rooppur NPP with Russia’s ASE Group of Companies. Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority (BAERA) handed over the Site License to BAEC on June 21, 2016, which was followed by handing over of Design and Construction License on November 4, 2017.
Apart from this, more than 300 students from Rooppur High School – wearing Bangladesh’s colours of green and red – formed a live figure of ‘I LOVE ROOPPUR’ to raise awareness among the local people about the project. The plant is being constructed about 160 km from the capital city of Dhaka on the east bank of the Padma river. The two units are expected to become operational by 2023 and 2024.