India, Russia to jointly build N-power plant in Bangladesh
New Delhi: The Government has announced that it is collaborating with Russia to build a nuclear power plant in Rooppur, Bangladesh. This is the first time India will build a nuclear power plant in a foreign country and is the first such collaboration on an atomic energy plant in a third country. The Rooppur atomic power plant will be the first Atomic power plant in Bangladesh.
Addressing the 61st General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, India's Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Sekhar Basu said, "We are collaborating with our partners in establishing the Rooppur power plant in Bangladesh", according to an official copy of the speech available here in Delhi.
Basu's speech, however, did not elaborate on the nature of collaboration with Russia. India is trying hard to become a member of the 48-nation Nuclear Supply Group (NSG), which controls the export of material, equipment and technology.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has agreed to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), to which India is not a signatory. Hasina is expected to sign the treaty during her visit to the ongoing UNGA in New York.
The Indian nuclear establishment could not expand internationally as sanctions had been imposed by several countries after the first Pokhran nuclear test in 1974 and this continued after the second tests during the Vajpayee regime.
India and Bangladesh signed three MoUs on civil nuclear cooperation during Hasina's visit to India in April this year. The MoUs underlined the joint production of equipment and material for an atomic power plant.
In December 2014 India and Russia signed a "Strategic Vision for Strengthening Cooperation in Using Peaceful Atomic Energy". The Vision document also says that the two countries would explore the possibilities of sourcing material, equipment and services from Indian industry for the construction of Russian-designed nuclear power plants in third countries.
The Rooppur facility is planned to be a 2.4-GWe nuclear power plant and the first of its two units is expected to become operational in 2023. It will cost about $12.65 billion. After the commissioning of both units, each with a capacity of 1,200 MW, Bangladesh will be the third South Asian country after India and Pakistan to harness energy from atomic fission.
The Indian government has approved the construction of 10 new indigenously built nuclear power projects, Basu informed the IAEA.