The first shipment of uranium, the nuclear fuel for Unit-1 of Bangladesh's maiden 2,400 megawatt (MW) Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, reached the project site in Pabna from Dhaka yesterday under special security arrangements.
The shipment reached the Ishwardi Dashuadia area of Pabna at 1:18pm via the Bangabandhu Bridge from Dhaka, passing through Natore's Bonpara.
Vehicles transporting the nuclear fuel departed from Gazipur around 7am yesterday.
The consignment crossed the Bangabandhu Bridge area around 10am on Friday, Superintendent of Tangail Police Sarker Mohammad Kaiser told UNB.
Earlier on Thursday afternoon, the uranium from Russia landed at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka.
The uranium was produced at the Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrates Plant in Russia, a subsidiary of Rosatom's fuel manufacturing company TVEL.
To this end, the finance ministry guaranteed Tk4,346 crore in compensation for any accidents or damage during the nuclear fuel transportation from Dhaka airport to the project area by road.
Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev will officially hand over the shipment to the Rooppur project authorities on 5 October.
Meanwhile, the convoy of vehicles transporting uranium had prompted the suspension of bus services along the Dhaka-Pabna route since 5am due to security concerns.
"There is usually heavy traffic on the Bangabandhu Bridge route between Dhaka and Pabna. This congestion might create challenges for the vehicles transporting uranium. Therefore, from 5am [Friday] morning, bus services have been suspended to keep the road clear of traffic," Pabna's Superintendent of Police Akbar Ali Munshi told the media.
Despite the inconvenience faced by regular commuters due to the traffic suspension, they did not endure any prolonged difficulties as traffic swiftly resumed its normal flow after the passage of the convoy, said SP Kaiser.
Once the uranium project vehicles passed, other vehicles were allowed on the route.
As per the project plan, the first unit of the 2,400MW nuclear power plant is expected to commence commercial operation in the first quarter of 2024.
The Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) is implementing the $13 billion project with the technical and financial support of Russia.
The BAEC inked a contract with Russia's state-run uranium mining and nuclear fuel production company TVEL in August 2019 to import nuclear fuel for the plant.
Sources at the BAEC said one-third of the nuclear fuel in the plant will have to be changed every 18 months.