As the pouring of the first concrete for the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP) is expected this month, news pours in that Bangladesh has shortlisted eight sites for its next nuclear power plant and survey will start soon. The South Asian country that has the highest population density in the world intends to set up four nuclear power plants by 2041 to meet the demand of its power starved population and industry.

Sources from the Ministry of Science and Technology confirmed to Nuclear Asia that eight sites have been shortlisted and a survey for potential site selection for the nuclear power plant in south Bangladesh will begin soon. During the survey experts will evaluate the sites on different parameters including demography, geological structures, electricity infrastructure, communication system and so on. Nuclear power plant at new site requires lot of assessment and careful planning to ascertain if the place is prone to seismic activity or if it has enough of water available besides other things.

Minister for Science and Technology Yafes Osman said that initiatives are taken to conduct a survey to select the best site for constructing the second nuclear power plant at the country’s southern part. The shortlisted sites are Khottar Char, Nidrar Char, Tengar Char, Alisar Mor of Barguna, Pakkhiar Char of Patuakhali, Halia of Khulna, Boyra Char of Noakhali and Muhurir Char of Feni.

The shortlisting stems from earlier declaration by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina that another nuclear power plant would be installed in the southern part of the country. The experience of the RNPP project will be used in installing the second nuclear power plant.

Science and Technology Secretary Anwar Hossain also confirmed that the survey will start soon. Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) sources said that the survey project will comply with all the international regulations and standards. After evaluating the survey results one or two sites will be selected.

The project has no allocation yet in the national budget for the fiscal year of 2017-18 but it is listed in the Annual Development Program (ADP) as an unapproved project. However, the project will be submitted in the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC, Bangladesh’s Planning Commission) meeting for approval.

The BAEC sources claimed that plans are afoot to include nearby places of the shortlisted sites in the survey. A chunk of data regarding those areas like hydrogeological, seismological, geological, geotectonic, meteorological, environment, pollution and other relevant information will be collected during the survey.

According to the master plan of the power sector, there is a plan to generate 60,000 MW of electricity by 2041. Of this total capacity 70 per cent of the power should come from coal and gas; and rest of the power would come from nuclear and other alternative energy sources.

The Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant is likely to become operational by 2024-25 with a capacity of at least 2,400 MW. According to the plan, four more nuclear plants will be built in two phase by 2041, which will increase the power generation capacity from nuclear sources to 10 per cent.

Osman said that nuclear power plant is capable to meet all the energy demands of Bangladesh as it is cheap in the long run and sustainable.