Knowledge is Power

Creating nuclear infrastructure in Bangladesh goes far beyond construction of the country’s first nuclear power plant. Other important steps include staff training and supporting national education in general. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the nuclear energy information center carries on with raising awareness.

Rosatom offers several training programs for employees of the future nuclear power plant. Students from Bangladesh enroll leading Russian universities every single year. The Obninsk Institute for Nuclear Power Engineering and Rosatom Technical Academy plan to jointly graduate more than 200 students majoring in nuclear-related professions. Their curriculum covers both theory and work experience, as well as internship at the relevant operating Russian nuclear power plants.

Rosatom strives to give as many people in Bangladesh as possible an idea of what nuclear energy is. It supports young people in their interest towards nuclear and related fields of science. In February, Rosatom organized “Precise Energy” Science Olympiad for the universities of Rajshahi Division, which hosts country’s first nuclear power plant. Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom, its engineering division ASE, which is the general contractor for the Rooppur NPP and Russia’s National Research Nuclear University (MEPhI) supported the event.

Over 1,600 students from Rajshahi University, Rajshahi University of Science and Technology, Pabna University of Science and Technology and Kushtia Islamic University registered for the first round of the Olympiad, out of which, 150 students were selected for the final round. It was a three-hour-long written examination in physics, mathematics or chemistry based on students’ preference.

Rooppur NPP Site Director Ashraful Islam, ASE Head of Communications Nina Dementsova and Energy of the Future Deputy CEO Alexander Baybakov addressed the concluding ceremony held in Ishwardi. The ceremony was attended by Feroz Kabir, Additional SP of Ishwardi Circle, Momtaz Mahal, AC Land of Ishwardi, Hamidur Rahman, Principal, Ishwardi Mohila Degree College. Senior officials from partner organizations, participants of the final round, local dignitaries and media representatives were also present on the occasion.

Top three participants in each subject received certificates, crests and special gift hampers; top five were awarded with certificates and crests, and each participant of the final round received a certificate of participation.

The Information Center on Nuclear Energy in Dhaka (ICONE Dhaka) continues its educational activities during the lockdown with support from Rosatom. The center came up with a plan to hold a series of online events in April. These events ranged from quizzes and tournaments to online lectures by prominent scientists. For example, Dr. Khairul Islam, Head of Plasma Physics, Atomic Energy Center Dhaka, BAEC, hosted a lecture on fusion technology and global energy sources. Online events also included Nuclear Dilemma Tournament held in two phases, Nuclear Hypothesis Tournament, online quizzes on the 75th anniversary of the Russian nuclear industry and the 100 years of Mujibur Rahman (interesting facts from his life), and a flash mob of science readings.

Since the quarantine measures were extended, ICONE Dhaka added new educational activities to its online lineup in May with support from Rosatom.

These new events included sessions with nuclear industry professionals discussing progress at the Rooppur NPP, careers in the Bangladeshi nuclear industry, basic operation and safety systems of nuclear power plants, and other topics. There were also a lecture and a quiz on the operation of nuclear power plants, as well as a virtual trip to the Information Center on Nuclear Energy.

An online course for teachers, who wanted to improve their knowledge in nuclear, was another highlight. MEPhI, a world leading higher education institution in nuclear, offers an online course adapted for Bangladesh teachers interested in nuclear and willing to improve their teaching skills. The course covers many questions, including those asked by Ishwardi residents on the website (sources of radiation, radiation and environment, history of the nuclear industry, etc.).

After completing the online course, they will be able to teach a similar course to their students.

The coronavirus pandemic has not affected the construction of the Rooppur nuclear power plant. The project is right on schedule. Necessary measures are taken at the site to prevent the spread of COVID‑19. Russian companies continue manufacturing machinery and equipment for the Rooppur NPP. In mid-May, Rosatom’s subsidiary Atomenergomash completed welding on the closing seam to join two halves of the reactor pressure vessel. The welding process took 10 days. The next step includes testing and checks of the weld, including X-ray examination, ultrasonic and penetrant testing.