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N-power team to visit Russia in Oct: official

A government delegation is awaiting the final nod from the prime minister’s office to visit a Russian nuclear power plant, an official of the science ministry told bdnews24.com on Monday.

“Russia has invited a Bangladeshi delegation to visit their nuclear power plants,” said the official, who asked not to be named but was closely involved with the negotiations. A nine-member delegation is slated to visit in October, he said.

He said a proposal had been sent to the prime minister for approval regarding the visit, which is likely to be headed by state minister for science and ICT Yafes Osman.

Bangladesh and Russian signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Dhaka in May this year, on the peaceful use of nuclear power, which was seen as a first-step towards construction of a Bangladeshi nuclear power plant.

Chairman of the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission, Dr Mosharaf Hossain, and deputy-director general of the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom), NN Spasskiy, signed the deal.

The MOU covers the design, licensing, construction, operation and maintenance of nuclear power and research reactors.

It also provided guidelines for joint initiatives in exploration and extraction of uranium deposits and radiation waste management.

Russia had not specified any financial terms as yet, but they are interested in providing loans rather than grants, which are likely be on favourable terms, said the ministry official.

“The Economic Relation Division will settle the financial terms and conditions once the MoU is signed,” he said.

Bangladesh also has similar MoUs with the USA and China.

Bangladesh’s one and only initiative to install a nuclear power plant in Rooppur, Pabna, has remained stalled since 1961.

Russia built 10 nuclear power plants last year, and in total has constructed 65 plants in Iran, India, China, Armenia, Ukraine, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Finland, Bulgaria and Germany.

Russia is currently constructing 11 power plants overseas.

Currently, 439 nuclear power plants around the globe are generating 16 percent of the world’s electricity.

China and South Korea have also approached Bangladesh to set up nuclear power plants.

Added on - August 10, 2009 | Filed under Technology