Rooppur nuke power plant construction to continue amid lockdown

Bangladesh is keen to continue construction on the country’s first nuclear power plant, despite the ongoing lockdown, without applying force majeure regulations.

“We have decided to continue the construction work on the Rooppur nuclear power plant (RNPP) in order to have the two 1,200 megawatt units (MW) of the facility operational by 2023,” RNPP project manager Md Shawkat Akbar told FE.

He said the RNPP construction is well underway as scheduled.

Most of the deals to build the facility have already been completed. Both Bangladesh and Russia are also working to complete the remaining chores, such as making efficient use of nuclear fuel and its waste after the fuel is first imported, he added.

The government has been forcing a week-long re-lock since Wednesday (April 14) to contain the spread of the coronavirus as the pandemic situation has worsened at an alarming rate in recent weeks. The government had previously restricted mass movements from April 3 to 13.

In the past 24 hours that ended Thursday there were 94 deaths and 4,192 new cases in Bangladesh, bringing the death toll to 10,081 and the total infection to 707,362, according to the General Directorate of Health Services (DGHS).

“Force majeure” is a common term in contracts that essentially releases both parties from liability or obligation if an exceptional event or circumstance beyond the control of the parties prevents either or both of them from fulfilling their obligations To fulfill obligations under the contract.

During the lockdown of the previous year (2020) from March 26 to May 31, Bangladesh and Russia had agreed not to use the pandemic as a reason for applying a force majeure clause in a contract for the construction of the RNPP.

Atomstroyexport, the international projects subsidiary of Russian state nuclear company Rosatom, is the prime contractor for the facility, which is being built under a supplier loan agreement with Russia. The power plant will have two units with an output of 1,200 MW each.

The RNPP construction is based on the intergovernmental agreement signed on November 2, 2011 between Russia and Bangladesh on cooperation in the construction of nuclear power plants.

The project has a total cost estimate of approximately 1.13 trillion taka ($ 13.48 billion), with Bangladesh receiving Russian funding of $ 11.38 billion.

The Russian Development and Foreign Trade Bank and the state-run Sonali Bank Ltd in Bangladesh are the authorized banks for the state loan.

The government of Bangladesh will provide Tk 220.52 billion from its own funds for the project. India will also provide approximately $ 1.0 billion in loans to facilitate the construction of the required plant infrastructure.

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