Reactor vessel, steam generator shipment despatched for Bangladesh's first nuclear plant

The reactor of the first unit of Bangladesh’s first nuclear power plant at Rooppur (RNPP) has arrived at the port of Mongla along with the steam generator. A crucial component of the RNPP, the reactor vessel has been made by the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom.

The reactor started its voyage from the outer anchorage of the Volga river in Russia crossing approximately 14,000 km of waterways and reached the Mongla port jetty on October 20, 2020. A Russian Federation ship berthed at Mongla will discharge the reactor on the coming November 5 and, thereafter, a special local barge will bring it to the RNPP river port at Pabna using the Chandpur river route. The reactor is expected to reach the RNPP port between November 20-21.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to inaugurate the reactor pressure vessel installation program. The South Asian nation’s Science and Technology Minister Yafes Osman made the announcement of the safe arrival of the pressure vessel and the steam generator in Bangladesh, describing the event as a landmark one. He also said that this event will be marked as a milestone achievement in the development of Bangladesh.

The Managing Director of the Nuclear Power Company Bangladesh Ltd and the RNPP Project Director, Md. Shaukat Akbar, told Nuclear Asia that the arrival of the reactor vessel and steam generator are a major achievement towards implementing the RNPP. The reactor vessel is one of the most important components of the RNPP and its installation is likely to start early next year, he added.

Both units of RNPP will consist of the state-of-the-art Generation 3+ VVER-1200 reactors. The lifetime of the reactors are 60 years each, which can be extended for another 20 years, if required.

The total cost of implementing the RNPP is estimated at $12.65 billion. Russia is about to provide $11.38 billion as a loan for the project which is 90 percent of the total estimated cost of the RNPP. Bangladesh has already signed the $11.38 billion credit deal with the Russian Federation. As per the agreed terms, Bangladesh will pay off the loan within 28 years, with a 10-year grace period.

The power plant consists of two separate units with a total capacity of 2,400 MW that will provide uninterrupted power supply. The first unit of the RNPP, having a capacity of 1200 MW, is expected to begin operations by 2023, according to official sources. The second unit of the RNPP, of equal capacity, is expected to be commissioned in 2024.