Nuclear Power: Dhaka to sign MoU with Moscow in mid-May

A Russian minister is expected to visit Dhaka in the middle of May to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding peaceful use of nuclear energy and development of related infrastructure, officials said.

Schedule of the visit will be finalised once the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) approves a draft proposal regarding signing an agreement with Russia on setting up two 1,000MW nuclear power plants. Ministry of Science and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) had sent the proposal to the PMO in the second week of April.

Earlier Bangladesh and Russia had agreed on their proposals for nuclear power plant set up and signing an MoU after three-day talks held in Dhaka in the first week of April. At the talks the Russian delegation expressed their interest to assist in the project while Bangladesh articulated its desire to set up two 1,000Mw power plants.

“We are waiting for the approval of the proposal…..we are expecting that the PMO will soon give a positive nod,” Joint Secretary to the Science and ICT Ministry MM Neazuddin told The Daily Star yesterday.

The Russian delegation also submitted a proposal to its authorities regarding the matter. Both the countries will inform each other after their respective high-ups approve the proposals, sources said.

According to a paper prepared by the ICT ministry, the estimated cost of a 1,000MW nuclear power plant ranges between $1.5 billion and $2 billion. Experts say installation of such a unit will take at least five years from commissioning of the deal.

Bangladesh has been negotiating with several countries for setting up nuclear power units. Recently, Dhaka sought assistance from South Korea. France and China have also shown interest while Bangladesh has bilateral agreements on nuclear cooperation with the United States, France and China.

“The government, which assumed office with the promise to improve the volatile power situation, is willing to strike a deal with a country soon so that installation of the power unit can be started immediately,” said an official of the ICT ministry.

Source: The Daily Star, 01 April 2009


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