The core catcher installation, one of the most crucial construction operations, is well underway at the Rooppur site. Once finished, the nuclear power plant will have a considerable impact on the country’s economy and people’s life, experts believe.
Installation of the core catcher, a key component of the passive safety system, began at Rooppur Unit 2 in late April, a month earlier than planned.
“Thanks to concerted efforts of our engineers, we have started the installation earlier. I am proud to say that both Rooppur units are being built on schedule,” Sergei Lastochkin, Director of the Rooppur Construction Project said.
The core catcher is a pioneering safety device designed by Russian nuclear engineers to mitigate effects of a nuclear meltdown. It can hold the molten core for an unlimited period of time, preventing radioactive materials from escaping the containment building.
The core catcher for the Rooppur NPP was designed with site conditions and safety requirements taken into account. The device has enhanced hydrodynamic properties and a higher resistance to stress and earthquakes. It is also equipped with flood protection systems and allows for simplified assembly and installation.
In late April, a Bangladeshi delegation visited the Novovoronezh II NPP operating Generation III+ VVER-1200 reactors. Units 1 and 2 of the Novovoronezh II plant are reference projects for the Rooppur NPP. The delegation visited the reactor and turbine islands, central control room, training center, and the cooling tower, and asked questions about the safety and technical features of the reactor. Following the visit, Shafiqul Islam, a member of the delegation and Chairman of the Nuclear Engineering Department at the University of Dhaka, said, “It is significant for us to practically see the reference project of our Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant. The visit has helped me to gain more confidence in the technology, that has been chosen for our maiden nuclear power facility. I will share the experience with my students and other people to assure them that the under construction Rooppur project is going to be completely safe and secured.”
The nuclear power plant will improve the entire infrastructure, economy and social climate in the country, Shawkat Akbar, Rooppur Project Director representing Bangladesh said in his interview to the Bangladesh Pratidin. According to Mr. Akbar, over 5,000 employees are currently employed at the construction site.
He stressed that the Rooppur NPP being built in the west of the country opened up endless possibilities for industrial development as electric power would be supplied first and foremost to the neighboring communities. This would result in new agricultural and chemical businesses established, new jobs created and nuclear engineering departments opened at universities, accelerating social and economic development of the region.
Shawkat Akbar believes that the nuclear power plant is the only opportunity to meet the growing demand for electricity and provide people with affordable power. The country’s Ministry of Science and Technology estimates that the total cost of power generated by a nuclear plant will be 3,000 times lower than that of power from coal-fired thermal units.
Featuring two Russian-designed Generation III+ VVER-1200 reactors with a total capacity of 2,400 MW, the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant is constructed 160 km away from Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka. The general construction contract was signed in December 2015. The first concrete ceremony at Unit 1 was officially held in November 2017. First concrete for the foundation of Unit 2 was poured in July 2018.