Sri Lanka to call for expressions of interest to build nuclear power plants in the country

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Sri Lanka has announced that it will call for expressions of interest (EOI) for setting up nuclear power plants (NPPs) in the country with the aim of generating low-carbon electricity to support its economic recovery. 

Following his meeting with officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in the national capital Colombo, Sri Lankan Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said earlier this month that the government is actively considering nuclear energy as a part of its long-term generation plans.  

“Discussed the structuring of a robust legal framework for Nuclear Energy integration, safe use of it, disposing waste & public awareness. The Govt intends to include the safe use of Nuclear Energy as a part of the long term generation plans & will call for EOIs for establishing nuclear power plants & modern technology,” Wijesekera said in a post on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter.  

Last year, IAEA experts had undertaken a review of Sri Lanka’s preparedness to embark on a nuclear power programme in the IAEA’s Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review. 

The primary source of energy in Sri Lanka is from imported oil and coal, as well as hydropower. The South Asian island nation aims to produce 70 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2050. 

The media portal Lanka News Web quoted Wijesekera as saying earlier that Sri Lanka is evaluating offers for NPP construction from various countries, including Russia, the US, India, and several European nations. 

“Besides Rosatom (the Russian state atomic energy corporation), other companies and countries, including India, European nations, and the United States, have presented proposals with different nuclear power plant technologies deemed suitable for Sri Lanka. The objective is to select the most suitable technology that aligns with the country’s needs,” Wijesekera told media persons in Colombo.  

“We need not be fearful, as numerous nations worldwide have successfully embraced nuclear energy. Even our neighbouring countries such as India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh have opted for nuclear power plants,” he added. 

Last year, following a meeting in Colombo between the Minister and the Russian Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Wijesekera announced that Sri Lanka had discussed with Russia about cooperation in nuclear energy, and to further this objective, the Indian Ocean island nation had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Rosatom.   

“Energy Sector requirements was discussed with the Russian Ambassador in SL, HE Levan Dzhagaryan this morning. Discussed the fuel requirements, refinery operations, challenges in coal supply & the MOU signed for Nuclear energy cooperation with Rosatom”, Minister Wijesekera said in a tweet. 

“Sri Lanka struggled with securing energy supplies earlier this year. We are actively looking for energy cooperation with other nations and Russia can play a big role” the Minister told reporters in Colombo last December in this regard.