The Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority will be taking up a new project related to security inspection of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant. The project, aimed at training and infrastructure development, will be implemented at a cost of Tk1,710 crore. As much as 77 percent of the amount — a total of Tk1,332 crore — will be spent on consultancy.
The contract for the project is being given to Russian and Indian consultancy firms.
In the proposal, more than Tk1,258 crore has been allocated for the Russians, which alone is nearly 74 percent of the total cost. Meanwhile, Indian firms will get Tk62 crore, or nearly 4 percent of the project expenditure.
The government will pay for the project in such areas as appointment of foreign and local consultants, land acquisition, purchase of machinery, tour and training, vehicles' collection and appointment of staffers.
According to officials of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority, the project will develop a nuclear regulatory infrastructure, besides ensuring atomic safety and radiation protection.
The proposal envisages acquisition of 0.50 acre and 2 acres of land respectively in Dhaka and Rooppur. A ten-storied office will be built in the capital while three buildings will be constructed in Rooppur on the acquired land.
The deadline for the completion of the project has been set at 2025, as noted in the proposal. Officials concerned have said the construction of the nuclear power plant emphasizes the peaceful uses of atomic energy. The project will strengthen the security of several units of the Rooppur nuclear plant through enhancing the capacity of the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority. As a result, the security of the nuclear plant as well as protection from radiation will be ensured.
Contacted by The Business Standard, Professor Dr. Shahana Afroz, Chairman of the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority, stated, "The aim of the project is not to construct buildings only. Rather, it will address the training issue as well."
Elaborating on the project, she said, "The allocation for consultancy is high so that we do not need to appoint consultants in future. The consultants will determine the kinds of training to be imparted. Our officials will have to visit Russia and India."
Dr Afroz hoped officials will be able develop skilled manpower in Bangladesh after receiving training abroad.
She said atomic safety requires the preparation of several code guides, standards and regulations. Besides, consultants will be appointed to prepare safety reports on licensing and to ensure quality at different phases of nuclear power generation.
The project proposes a total expenditure of Tk20 crore for foreign training. As many as 150 officials will visit India and Russia as part of the training aspect of the project. An additional fund of Tk12 crore will be earmarked for foreign trips to be undertaken under the project.
Asked about the consultancy fees proposed in the project plans, Firoza Begum, chief of the Socio-Economic Infrastructure Division, declined to make any comment.
Russia is funding the first ever nuclear plant in Bangladesh. The estimated cost of the mega-project is Tk12.65billion, with a deadline set for 2025.
India will be providing Bangladesh with training schemes aimed at developing skilled manpower for the construction and maintenance aspects of the project.