By Kamran Reza Chowdhury
A Russian cargo flight carrying the preliminary batch of uranium for Bangladesh’s U.S. $12 billion Rooppur Nuclear Energy Plant landed in Dhaka on Friday and was trucked to the power’s website on the identical day.
This was the primary supply from Russia with supplies for the ability plant since Bangladesh in December prevented a U.S.-sanctioned Russian ship from docking at a neighborhood port. A Russian state-owned firm is constructing the plant.
“Uranium has reached the plant – which means that we’ll very quickly get clear nuclear energy from Rooppur. This can be a huge achievement for the nation,” A.F.M. Ruhal Haque, chairman of a parliamentary committee on science and expertise, instructed BenarNews.
Mohammad Hossain, a senior official with the vitality ministry, instructed BenarNews that the plant was not anticipated to generate electrical energy earlier than 2025, primarily due to a delay in organising the distribution community.
“Except the distribution line is completed, we can’t switch electrical energy from Rooppur to the nationwide grid,” he mentioned.
The supply of uranium comes lower than a month after a go to by Russian Overseas Minister Sergey Lavrov to Dhaka, when each international locations agreed to deepen the bilateral relationship.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to seem at a digital ceremony alongside Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina subsequent week at a proper handover ceremony for the uranium.
Hasina’s scheduled look with Putin comes throughout a time of strained relations between Bangladesh and america. Washington has criticized what it says are curbs on dissent and free speech in Bangladesh forward of the upcoming normal election.
Final week, the U.S. introduced it started taking steps “to impose visa restrictions on Bangladeshi people liable for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic election course of in Bangladesh.”
Mohammad Faruk Khan, an influential parliamentarian with the ruling Awami League social gathering, mentioned the ability plan symbolized the enduring friendship between Russia and Bangladesh.
“The Rooppur nuclear plant is a logo of Sheikh Hasina’s quest for brand spanking new expertise for Bangladesh and a logo of friendship between the individuals of Bangladesh and Russia who supported us throughout our battle of independence in 1971,” he mentioned.
Bangladesh has lengthy confronted crippling energy outages because it struggles to generate sufficient electrical energy to produce the nation of 170 million individuals. And whereas the federal government touts nuclear energy as a sturdy answer, many query the mission’s value.
“The Rooppur nuclear energy plant is a white elephant of a mission. That is nothing however a wasteful enterprise for the nation,” mentioned Moinul Islam, an economist previously with the College of Chittagong.
“Establishing a 2,400-megawatt energy mission at $12 billion is by no means economically viable.”
Bangladesh can be struggling to pay the yearly curiosity on Russia’s $11 billion mortgage as a result of Moscow’s banks had been lower off from the Swift cost system following the invasion of Ukraine.
Earlier this yr, Bangladesh agreed to repay a portion of the mortgage in Chinese language forex, however cost has been made.
A Russian request to open a department of Sberbank, a sanctioned Russian financial institution, in Dhaka is awaiting a response from Bangladesh’s central financial institution.