Unit 1 reactor pressure vessel installed in Bangladesh’s first nuclear plant at Rooppur

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The installation of the reactor pressure vessel for unit 1 of Bangladesh’s first nuclear power plant (NPP) at Rooppur has been completed earlier this month according to the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom, which is the equipment supplier and technical consultant for the project to build two VVER-1200 units of 1,200 MW each at the site located on the eastern bank of the river Ganges.

A Rosatom statement said that installation of the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) weighing more than 334 tonnes started on September 14, 2021, and was completed on October 10, when it was inaugurated at a formal ceremony attended by Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev and witnessed via video link by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. 

“Today is a day of joy and pride for us as the reactor pressure vessel is being set up at unit 1 of the Rooppur nuclear plant. And by this we confirm our strong presence in the nuclear world so far as peaceful use of nuclear technology is concerned”, the Prime Minister said.  

“After being convinced about safety and management of nuclear waste at the meeting with President Putin in 2013, I decided to go for nuclear. As this technology doesn’t have carbon emission, hence it is eco-friendly and will help fight against adverse effect of climate change. This power station will help us achieve the (United Nations) SDG goals by 2030 in line with our development plan and facilitate graduation to a developed nation in 2041,” she added.  

According to Rosatom. the installation of the VVER-1200 reactor pressure vessel of unit 1 was performed in several stages. At first, a Liebherr-11350 heavy caterpillar crane raised the RPV on the transportation portal of the power unit. Then the reactor vessel was moved to the central hall of the reactor building on a special transportation trolley.  

Thereafter, the polar crane put the RPV into the vertical position and installed it on the support ring in the reactor pit. Prior to the installation, the VVER-1200 reactor pressure vessel manufactured by Rosatom subsidiary AEM-Technology underwent the incoming inspection in accordance with all the regulatory requirements. 

“Today Rooppur NPP has witnessed the important milestone of the year of 2021 – the reactor pressure vessel of unit 1 has been installed in the design position. The high qualification of the specialists and the thorough preparation ensured the performance of the works with a pinpoint precision. Rooppur NPP project that is being implemented in Bangladesh has accumulated the best Russian practice and dozens of years of experience and scientific thought,”, Rosatom head Likhachev said at the inauguration.  

Both the latest generation III+ 1,200 MW power units at the Rooppur NPP, located 160 km from the capital Dhaka, will be equipped with active as well as passive safety systems, including molten core catchers. The first unit is scheduled to start operating 2023, followed by unit 2 in 2024. 

Indian firm Hindustan Construction Company has won a $110 million contract for civil works at the Rooppur plant in a joint venture with Bangladesh’s MAX Group. Indian companies are able to participate in construction work and supply of non-critical equipment for the project under a trilateral agreement signed by India, Russia, and Bangladesh in 2018.

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