Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant: Expert opinion

Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant: Expert opinion

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For a country with about 160 million population and one that aims to become a middle income
country by 2021, nuclear is the only option for mitigating the future energy demand. But to reach that
goal we need wide vision, infrastructure and planned manpower as nuclear power program in Bangladesh is a serious undertaking.
To achieve this goal, we need 24,000 MWe (2,000 MWe from nuclear) of electricity by 2021 and 39,000 MWe (4,000 MWe from nuclear) by 2030. Currently we generate around 11,000 MWe with 500MWe coming from India and the rest from gas, coal, oil, hydro and a small portion from renewable.Nuclear is expensive at the initial  stage but once installed it is cheaper than oil and coal in routine operation. Modern nuclear plants (Gen-III/ III+) are designed to be installed in populated places such as Rooppur, Bangladesh. These technologies are far safer than the decades-old technologies used in Fukushima and Chernobyl, which did not have enough safety and security measures against radiation leakage for protecting the people and the environment.
Development of competent manpo-wer and their proper recruitment is the key issue for the regulator and the operators for effective and successful operation of the nuclear program.
Mostly mechanical, electrical, and nuclear engineers must be involved with the Russian counterpart in detail design development, construction, safety analysis, equipment selection and procurement, installation and
testing of equipment and systems, etc as a part and parcel of the team from day one. If Bangladeshi engineers are not involved from the beginning and be familiar with every aspects of the design of the components,  structures, systems, equipment and safety features, it would be a serious concern to operate and maintain the plant after taking it over from the Russians.
Last but not the least, the nuclear plant what we are going to construct, needs all stakeholders working
together involving academic institutes, regulators and operators to build, own, and operate the nuclear power plant in a safe, secured and sustainable manner. For this, we have much to do in terms of nuclear management, regulation, regulators more independent, operators more responsible and public (media, civil society) better informed.
(Dr. Md. Shafiqul Islam Associate Professor Department of Nuclear Engineering, University of Dhaka.)

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