Seeking to shift its energy resource base from fossils to nuclear, Bangladesh will be entering trilateral cooperation with India and Russia to build and gain experience in operating its Russian designed reactors.

The civil nuclear deal between India and Bangladesh in April has paved way for the unprecedented cooperation in South Asia for the peaceful use of nuclear energy. The cultural and geographic affinity between India and Bangladesh makes training on nuclear technology an economically viable option for the developing country.

Former Director of Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Shivram Bhoje, while speaking to nuclearpower.asia said: “Russia, India and Bangladesh can cooperate in nuclear power and applications of radioisotopes. Economic development of Bangladesh depends on reliable energy resources available to them. Definitely nuclear power will help in this regard.”

India and Russia are co-signatories to ‘Strategic Vision for Strengthening Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy’ since 2014. The agreement lays down framework for cooperation between the two countries for sourcing materials, equipment and expertise from Indian industry for construction of Russian-designed nuclear reactors in a third country. So, India will join hands with Russia to get the Russian-designed a nuclear power plant in Rooppur (Bangladesh) up and running.

About 160 km from capital city of Dhaka, Rooppur is the site for the two Russian-built VVER pressurised water reactors planned by Bangladesh. Bangladesh seeks to gain from

India’s experience in operating the Russian-built nuclear power plant in Kudankulam (in Tamil Nadu), where it operates 22 units of Russian-built VVERs. The construction of the first unit at Rooppur is expected to commence by the end of this year and is planned to be operational by 2023-24.

The civil nuclear agreement is between the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority and India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board and entails sharing of technical information and cooperation in the regulation of nuclear safety and radiation protection. “Training in complicated technology is very essential. Training of Bangladeshi specialists at
Kudankulam NPP in India will be economically beneficial and language wise acceptable,” Bhoje said enumerating the benefits of technology training for Bangladesh’s specialists in India.

Nuclear energy has become imperative for developing countries seeking clean energy for fast-pacing their development. “With the help of nuclear technologies large addition of energy is possible. Developing countries are choosing nuclear energy because it is a large resource, it is a clean energy resource, economically competitive, against the background of limited globally fossil resources,” Bhoje added.

In the long prospective nuclear power opens a possibility of international cooperation and energy independence. The former IGCAR Director avers that low carbon technologies like nuclear power are essential for saving the planet from global warming.