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IAEA Reviews Progress of Bangladesh’s Nuclear Infrastructure Development


Discussions during the follow-up INIR mission in Dhaka, Bangladesh, held from 10 to 14 May 2016. (Photo: M. Yagi/IAEA)

Bangladesh has made noticeable progress in implementing the recommendations of an IAEA Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission, a team of experts concluded earlier this month. The experts found that a majority of the recommendations and suggestions have been acted on, but considerable work remains as Bangladesh moves forward in developing its infrastructure for a nuclear power programme. The 2011 INIR mission had provided recommendations and suggestions to develop an action plan for the establishment of the country’s nuclear infrastructure.

The expert team, made up of IAEA and international experts, conducted a follow-up INIR mission from 10 to 14 May to assess the progress and assist in prioritizing further infrastructure development activities.

The expert team has identified the following main achievements:

  • Bangladesh has established its nuclear safety regulatory body;
  • it selected the Rooppur site in the Pabna district, 160 km north of Dhaka, for the construction of the first nuclear power plant;
  • it undertook the site characterization and environmental impact assessment;
  • it adopted a law for the establishment of the operating organization, the Nuclear Power Plant Company Bangladesh Limited;
  • coordination among relevant Government entities has been strengthened, but formalized procedures between the future operator and the regulatory body are yet to be laid down.

Last year, Bangladesh signed a general contract with Atomstroyexport from the Russian Federation for the construction of two VVER1200 nuclear power reactors at the Rooppur site, said Milko Kovachev, Head of the IAEA’s Nuclear Infrastructure Development Section, who led the follow-up INIR mission. “Bangladesh has chosen a turn-key contractual option, financed by a sovereign loan from Russia.”

Although Bangladesh has initiated responses to all recommendations and suggestions from the 2011 mission, the implementation of some of these needs further attention, the team concluded. This includes, for example, further strengthening the national project plan to reflect the actual status of the programme and its future challenges. It suggested that a national and institutional human resource plan be finalized, and a national communication strategy for stakeholder involvement and public information be put in place. Policies for the management of low and medium level radioactive waste should be formally approved, the team said.

The country’s Government decided in 2000 to include nuclear power in its national energy mix, as part of the Bangladesh’s efforts to address a rapidly increasing demand for energy, improve economic development and reduce dependence on natural gas. The Government subsequently requested an INIR mission. These missions enable IAEA Member State representatives to have in-depth discussions with international experts about experiences and best practices in infrastructure development.

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