An information and opinion exchange meeting on “nuclear energy: trends opportunities and prospects” on Tuesday welcomed the move to install two nuclear power plants at Rooppur in Bangladesh fulfilling a long awaited plan supported by parties across the political divide in the country.
The meeting organised at the Sonargaon Hotel by Nuclear.Ru, a leading nuclear energy online media of Russia in association with the Truine Group, public relations consultants of Rosatom which has taken the responsibility to setup the plants, was attended by senior members of the news media, academia and the social media.
Illiya Platonov, editor of Nuclear.Ru made a power point presentation at the meeting which was followed by discussion. Kazi Wahidul Alam, MD, Truine Group was present at the meeting which was moderated by its executive director Dr. Farhad Kamal.
In his opening statement Illiya Platonov dwelt on the relative advantages of nuclear energy in the backdrop of other sources like oil and coal which were dirty and contributed to global warming. Natural gas which was the primary source of energy in Bangladesh was relatively costlier and would exhaust not in a distant future.
He said although the initial capital investment in nuclear energy is high – 4 to 6 billion dollars per plant – it gives secure large volume power for sixty years at least, and has become more reliable and safe than before. He said that waste fuel of nuclear plants no longer need to be stored, it can be sent beck to the country or origin for recycling or countries which have more than four plants with fuel recycling capabilities can recycle the same themselves.
Responding to a question he said that modern nuclear reactors are cable of withstanding earthquakes up to 8 points on the Richter scale. In extreme events like 10 points quake that damaged the Fukushima nuclear power plant, the modern plants have options for shutting down reactors and in case of unlikely accidents cooling the core to prevent radioactivity and related disasters.
\He said that the Fukushima power plant was more than 30 years old. Yet the accident has so far reported one casualty. Other deaths reported were not by the accident at the reactor but by the tsunami that the earthquake led to.
The Chernobyl nuclear accident was the result of an unexpected explosion which is most unlikely in modern reactors which have both passive and active safety features and cooling systems. Responding to a question he said that out of about 71 nuclear plants built by Russia across the world 56 were now in operation.
He said Russia was helping create expert manpower for running to the two plants at Rooppur with a total generation capacity of 2400MW of electricity. 30 scientists from Bangladesh were already studying in Russian universities.
Dr. Shafiqul Islam, Associate professor of the department of nuclear engineering, Dr. Zahid Hossain, of the electronic and electrical engineering department, Dhaka University, Mostafa Kamal Majumder, editor GreenWatch Dhaka, Badiul Alam, City Editor, The News Today took part in the discussion among others.
A number of journalists drew attention to the risks of accidents in nuclear power plants and less availability of water during the dry season as against the requirement of a huge quantity of water for the plants’ operation. – Staff Reporter