Dhaka: Bangladesh’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority (BAERA) has authorized construction to begin this month on the nation’s first nuclear reactor, a long-delayed and Russian-supported plant that is expected to produce electricity by 2023. The project, which was conceived in 1961 before Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) became an independent nation, is estimated to cost more than U.S. $13 billion (1 trillion takas). Bangladesh’s first nuclear power plant is to be constructed in Rooppur in Northwestern Pabna district, about 160 km (100 miles) from Dhaka. Bangladesh is set to enter the nuclear age. This is a good news for the nation.
Construction of a second reactor is scheduled to begin later and go online by 2024, potentially driving construction costs to $18 billion (1.5 trillion takas). The two reactors are expected to produce 2,400 megawatts of electricity per day. Russia is to provide 90% of the funds through loans to be paid back by Bangladesh’s government, which is responsible for the other 10% percent of the cost. Russia’s nuclear agency Rosatom has been overseeing the project featuring its latest technology. On Nov. 30, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will formally inaugurate construction of the structure to house the first reactor.