Rooppur nuclear power project is a 2.4GW pressurized water reactor (PWR) facility under construction on the eastern side of the Ganges in the Pabna district of Bangladesh. Being built with Russian support, it will be the country’s first nuclear power plant.
Estimated to cost $13.34bn, the project is being undertaken by the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC).
The first concrete for the Rooppur Unit-1 was poured in November 2017, while that for the Unit-2 was poured in July 2018.
The first unit of the plant is scheduled for commissioning 2023, while the second unit is expected to start operations in 2024.
To be operated with a minimum utilization factor of 92%, the Rooppur NPP will support base-load power generation in the country, over its estimated operational life of 50 years.
Rooppur power plant location and background
The project is located in the Rooppur village, approximately 160km from the country’s capital Dhaka and 27km away from the nearby town Pabna.
Although the Rooppur nuclear power plant was originally planned in the 1960’s, the project took off only after a strategic co-operation agreement for the development was signed between the Russian Federation and the Government of Bangladesh in November 2011.
Detailed engineering design and site preparatory works for the project were completed by the end of 2013.
The Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority (BAERA) issued license for the design and construction of the Rooppur units one and two in November 2017 and July 2018, respectively.
Rooppur power plant make-up and safety features
The Rooppur nuclear power facility will comprise two VVER pressurized water reactor (PWR) units of 1,200MW gross capacity each. Each unit will consist of a pressurized water-cooled power reactor with four circulation loops and a horizontal steam generator to drive the steam turbines inside the turbine building.
Uranium-235 enriched up to 5% will be used as fuel inside the reactor core, which will be enclosed within a steel-lined cylindrical pressure vessel.
Further, the reactor pressure vessel will be enclosed within a steel lined inner containment and two layers of concrete containment of 1.5m and 0.5m thickness, respectively.
Safety features of the reactors include boron injection systems for emergency shutdown, molten catcher, gas removal and spray systems, along with overpressure protection measures, as well as emergency power supply with the help of a standby diesel power generator. The plant uses gadolinium oxide with natural content of isotopes as the integrated burnable absorber.
The electricity generated at the NPP will be transmitted through a 609km-long 400kV double-circuit power transmission line connecting Bogra, Gopalganj, Dhaka and Dhamrai, and a 60km-long 230kV double-circuit connecting Rooppur and Baghabari.
Estimated to cost $1.3bn, the transmission infrastructure for the project will also include three substations and 12 bay extensions.
The Russian Federation agreed to provide an initial loan assistance of $500m towards the preparatory stage construction activities of the Rooppur nuclear power plant in July 2013. Russia agreed to provide another $11.38bn for the main construction works of the plant, in July 2016.
Atomstroyexport (ASE), a subsidiary of Rosatom, was appointed as the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor for the project in December 2015.
Orgenergostroy was subcontracted for conducting engineering survey of the plant and for the construction of pilot bases and accommodation camps.
The construction contractors engaged for the project include Inter RAO Engineering, Goldenberg Group of Companies, and Hindustan Construction Company.