The port built on the bank of Padma River to facilitate the construction and future operation of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP) at Pabna's Ishwardi upazila is all set to become fully operational.
According to a press release issued by the builder firm Rosatom (Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation), various equipment and fuel oil to operate the power plant will be transported to the construction site via this port.
SG Lastochkin, vice president and director of the Rooppur nuclear power plant construction project, said, "The port would deliver essential parts of the Reactor Compartment of Unit 1, such as VVER-1200 reactor pressure vessel, four steam generators and polar crane to move heavy machinery throughout the running year."
Cargos carrying construction materials and equipment will be transported from St Petersburg and Novorossiysk to Padma port freight terminal via the Mongla seaport.
It took one and a half years to construct the 150 by 350 meters port, which is capable of holding the river's depth of water to a difference of 10 meters all year round.
"The port will be able to operate in winter as well, when the water level drops to some 3.5 meters, causing it to stay functional throughout the year. However, large ships can be moored during the monsoon season ," reads the press release.
At present, the port is equipped with two cranes with a capacity of 63 tonnes each. The authorities have planned to install two more cranes with a capacity of 308 tonnes each.
Rooppur nuclear power plant (RNPP) is the first nuclear power plant of Bangladesh. It is being built in assistance with the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation followed by the agreement signed with Atomstroyexport, the main contractor of the Rooppur project, on December 25, 2015.
Rosatom will be supervising the project entirely, starting from its plan, design, construction, and operation to mining uranium, upgrading its standard, supplying-storing-using nuclear fuel and disposing nuclear waste in a safe way.
The combined cost of the two-unit power plant is estimated at 12.65 billion US dollar or Tk1.12 lakh crore. In December last year, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved this most expensive project in the history of Bangladesh.
Russia is providing a loan of $11.38 billion at an interest rate of 4 percent for the implementation of the main phase, which is to be repaid in 20 years with 10 years of grace period. The remaining amount of Tk22,000 crore will be borne by the government.
In 1961, an initiative was taken to build a nuclear power plant at Rooppur, which gained momentum nearly five decades later.
In 2009, after the Awami League-led government returned to power it reached an agreement with Russia.
During Sheikh Hasina's visit to Russia in January 2013, a $500 million loan was signed by Russia for the technical research of the power plant.
The foundation stone was laid at Rooppur in October of the same year.
According to the government, country's first neuclear power plant is being built using the latest third generation technology involving five layers of safety. Moreover, Russia has signed an agreement with Bangladesh to be responsible for removing used radioactive fuel from the site.
Confirming the completion of 30 percent of the construction work, Project Director Md Shaukat Akbar said, "Foreign manpower has been increased to wrap up the project in due time."