Safety:Top Most Priority ·in RNPP - Interview in the Energy and Power magazine

Professor Dr. Naiyyum Choudhury, Chairman of Bangladesh Atomic Energy Authority, said this in an exclusive interview with Energy & Power Editor Mollah Amzad Hossain. 
There are some debates about Russian technology. What are your views? 
Yes, people have questions as to why we have adopted Russian technology. You are aware that the initiative for a nuclear power plant at Rooppur is age old and in fact was taken in 1960s. For different reasons, it could not be constructed over the long period of time. But technology advanced in the mean- time. New models appeared in the industry. 
Nuclear power plants are relatively far more expensive than traditional fossil fuel using plants. Then we have to consider technology and safety. The national parliament in 2009 passed a decision for constructing the nuclear power plant at Rooppur. As far as I know, the countries were offering assistance in two areas - one was the technology and the other was investment for the project. Most countries offered technological assistance only, but Russia was the only country that agreed to offer both. Russia offered providing loan up to 90% of the project cost at nominal The contract with the Russian government has been concluded on that basis, contractor was selected and workshare advancing. Since it is Russian technology, hence the Russian contractor is carrying out the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) job. It may be mentioned here that Russia is the only country of the world that is using VVER technology. The technology, apart from being successfully used in Russia, is also being exported. Two VVER 10 00 reactors are in operation in India. Some countries like Egypt and Turkey are in the pipeline for setting up VVER technology using nuclear power plants. Russia now is setting up the highest number of nuclear power plants worldwide. 
The estimated project cost now, inclusive of everything, is US$ 12.6 billion - 90% of the project cost, which Russian government is providing as loan, includes all construction materials, reactors and engineering and construction. Russian company Atomstroy export is the principal contractor and some companies of other countries are working as the sub-contractors in the project. 
Technology wise, Russia's supremacy in nuclear power plant is unquestionable. They are evolving newer aspects of technology to ensure safety. Russia is the first country introducing the concept of CORE Catcher (An arrangement to contain molten core material of a nu- clear reactor in case of a nuclear melt- down and to prevent radiation leakages) after the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident. One of the two CORE Catchers is already in place and the other is at the final stage of installation. 


You have issued two approvals so far and you regularly monitor. What are your evaluations of the work done so far? 
Good question. It is not that we are satisfied with every work. We have let our objections know n wherever we found issues with quality. One example is soil stabilization. Soil of Rooppur is soft and it requires consolidation and stabilization for installation of reactors. The con- tractor had to prove to us the technology they are using for soil stabilization. They informed us about using a technology innovated by a professor of a German University. The professor went to Bangladesh and made atechni- cal presentation while responding to our queries had to prove its suitability to us. The meeting had the presence of Prof Dr Jamilur Reza Chowdhury and Ahsanullah University Vice Chancellor (Abul M.M. Safiullah)(individuals with expertise in building large structures). All of us after being satisfied let the contractor going ahead with the technology. We also gave some conditions prior to set- ting the CO RE Catcher. They agreed. 
VO Safety, the Russian company, as per the agreement will inspect all the long- term Russian made manufacturing equipment of the plant. Russia wants VO Safety would also conirm conformity of the equipment on behalf of them. But we did not agree. We suggested using a different inspection company. Russians get their conformity assessed by)AES since then it may be mentioned here that VO Safety is the official regulatory agency of the Russian Federation. They have to certify any nuclear equipment made in Russia. 
We are checking and examining the foundation on structures being constructed at site The work on entire reactor build- inc I be erected on it. It's not that quest on of being happy or unhappy a at what they are doing. It is the question whether they are doing it rightly or not rightly?Our main concern Is to ensure the safely aspects.