India’s Keen Interest In Bangladesh Nuclear Plant Near Its Border
Less than two hours’ from the eastern edge of West Bengal, across the international border, frenzied activity is underway to build a hi-tech nuclear power plant in Bangladesh’s Rooppur. Though India won’t get a share of the power that will be produced here, New Delhi does have an interest in seeing the facility come to life.
For years, India has been pushing the frontier to try and make a mark in the global nuclear commerce that is worth multi-billion dollars but it has not had a lot of success since it is not a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group or NSG. But now, a new three party agreement between Russia, Bangladesh and India has opened the gates for India to make in-roads in this lucrative sector.
The Rooppur power plant, which will be Bangladesh’s first step to harness nuclear energy, will have 1,200 MW atomic reactors that Dhaka is buying from Russia. The technology is quite similar to the atomic reactors India has made at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu and so India and Bangladesh are working together on the project including the training of engineers. If all goes well, Indian companies will also supply equipment and help in its construction. Bangladesh hopes to complete the first atomic power reactor by 2023.
“We have signed a tripartite memorandum of understanding between Bangladesh, Russian Federation and Government of India. Earlier too, we signed a governmental agreement with government of India in this regards… India is producing energy using VVER technology at Kudankulam for long time and they have lot of experience in this regard and Bangladesh wants to share this experience because we are new nuclear power,” M Anwar Hossain, Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology, told NDTV.
So since Rooppur is close to the Indian border, will Bangladesh export power to India? “No, we haven’t thought of that… Bangladesh is energy hungry,” Mr Hossain said.
Gautam Biswas, the Executive Director of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited in Mumbai said the India, Bangladesh and Russia cooperation ‘is a good example of a co-operation of the three-party agreement”.