Bangladesh and Russia yesterday signed a five-year framework agreement on cooperation for the peaceful use of nuclear energy to make ways for nuclear power plants to meet the growing power demand in the country.
State Minister for Science and ICT Yeafesh Osman signed the agreement on behalf of the Bangladesh government while Sergey Kiriyenko, director general of the state atomic energy corporationRosatom--signed on behalf of the Russian government.
Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, who held talks with her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow, witnessed the signing ceremony.
According to the agreement, the future cooperation between the two countries would include, among others,
- (i) design, construction and operation of nuclear power and research reactors;
- (ii) nuclear fuel supply, taking back the spent nuclear fuel and nuclear waste management;
- (iii) personnel training and capacity building for operation and maintenance of the plants;
- (iv) research, education and training of personnel in the Russian Federation in the field of the use of nuclear energy;
- (v) development of innovative reactor technologies in accordance with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safety requirements, non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and environmental protection; and
- (vi) exploration and mining of uranium and thorium deposits.
- The parties shall establish a Joint Coordination Committee to monitor the implementation process of this agreement.
The parties shall also assure the transfer of materials, technologies, equipment and services for implementation of joint programmes in the field of the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
After the signing of the accord, DG of Rosatom Kiriyenko, who is the former prime minister of Russia, expressed his full support and commitment for establishing nuclear power plants in Bangladesh.
A high-level delegation from Russia will visit Bangladesh soon to take forward next steps in implementing the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant Project.
Both the ministers of Bangladesh spoke about the determination of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government to build nuclear power plants in meeting the rising power demand.
The Bangladesh delegation also had an official meeting with Rosatom on May 19.
Yeafesh Osman emphasised the need for nuclear power option in meeting increasing power shortage and the election pledge of the present government on the nuclear power project.
Bangladesh side requested the Russian authorities to assist in establishing two nuclear reactors with the capacity of 1,000 megawatt each.
Nikolay Spasskiy, the deputy director general of Rosatom, termed Bangladesh as a strategic partner of Russia. He emphasised that nuclear energy is the best choice to meet the growing energy needs in Bangladesh.
Spasskiy appreciated that Bangladesh has good number of scientific and technical personnel, and the socio-economic condition of Bangladesh is suitable to go for nuclear power plant project.
Both the countries agreed that the signing of the agreement would be followed by the subsequent “inter-governmental agreements” on technical and financial aspects.
After signing the deal, Rosatom chief Kiriyenko said Russia is ready to help Bangladesh make use of nuclear technologies for peaceful purposes.
Russia is building many nuclear facilities both inside the country and abroad, and is “ready to share its experience with Bangladesh,” he said.
Kiriyenko said: “The agreement's goal is to lay down reliable legal basis for cooperation between Russia and Bangladesh in the peaceful atom area.”
He said the agreement also provides for cooperation in the areas of prospecting and developing uranium and thorium deposits, nuclear fuel cycle services, including supplies of nuclear fuel to power and research reactors.
The document regulates issues of disposal of Russian nuclear fuel waste, handling radioactive waste and maintaining nuclear and radiation safety. Russia and Bangladesh will cooperate in the area of physical protection of nuclear materials and will take joint emergency actions.
Under the agreement, Rosatom will also help Bangladesh to set up a national regulatory authority and train its nuclear physics experts and nuclear engineers in Russia.
To implement the agreement, the two sides will set up a joint coordinating committee that will include representatives nominated by Rosatom and the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology, and those appointed by Bangladesh's commission on nuclear energy and the ministry of science and ICT.
The committee will hold its meetings on an “as-needed basis” in Russia and Bangladesh alternately.
The agreement was signed for a five-year term with possible tacit extension every five years.
“We are working fast to achieve our goals--only a year ago we signed a memorandum, and now we are signing the agreement. I am confident that we will continue to work as fast and efficiently as now,” Kiriyenko said during the signing ceremony.
Meanwhile, Dipu Moni held talks with her Russian counterpart Lavrov and both the foreign ministers agreed to intensifying traditional cooperation in the areas of education and defence.
Lavrov expressed his government's full support for establishing nuclear power plants in Bangladesh.
Both the foreign ministers expressed satisfaction over the signing of the framework agreement.
Dr SM Saiful Hoque, Bangladesh ambassador to the Russian Federation, Md Abdur Rob Howlader, secretary of the Ministry of Science and ICT, Dr Farid Uddin Ahmed, Member, Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission, Dr Mohammad Shawkat Akbar, Project Director of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant Project, among others, were present at the signing ceremony.