Nuclear energy only option for low-cost electricity: Experts

May 30, 2013

Experts have observed that nuclear energy is the only option to produce cheaper electricity, although some developed countries have put a check on power generation from nuclear plants.
Nuclear power is a low-cost option to generate electricity from a nuclear reactor that uses renewable energy or even coal. “This key information is an important reason for energy-starving countries to adopt the technology”, said Yu Sokolov, vice-president of Rusatom Overseas, the Russian state-owned nuclear power company.
Sokolov is now visiting Dhaka to conduct a two-day seminar on nuclear energy. The seminar complies with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) requirement to create public awareness on the issue.
“But there is a big challenge as we want to install a low-cost reactor. It would be unfair to go for hazardous technology, without caring for people’s safety”, the Russian added, sounding a note of caution.
The Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission is conducting the seminar as the country plans to install nuclear reactors to generate 1000 MW of electricity, which is a first in the country’s history.
Incidentally, the country’s growing energy demand is on a 10-12 per cent rise yearly.
IAEA and Rusatom will work together to maintain the standards set by the IAEA, and they will check every detail of the feasibility study done by the Bangladesh government.
Describing the government’s vision in the power sector, Showkat Akbar, project director of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, told the seminar that the government had a master plan to produce 10 per cent of the country’s total electricity from the nuclear power plant.
“If we consider the per-unit electricity production cost of this power plant, we will see that it is three times as low as the per-unit cost of a coal-fired plant”, he said.
Prof. ASM Maksud Kamal of the department of disaster science and management of Dhaka University (DU) said that Rooppur was tectonically located in the stable platform, but more information was needed as the survey was done in the mid-1960s.
“A total of 28 nuclear power reactors are under construction across the globe and a few plants are in negotiation stages even after the Fukushima disaster”, he informed.
To implement the idea, the ministry of power, energy and mineral resources, along with the ministry of science and technology, has taken a holistic approach facilitated by the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Authority, which started functioning as an independent authority in February 2013.
Sergey G. Novikov, director of communication, Rusatom, said that they would re-do the study if a study report did not comply with IAEA standards. “We heard that Bangladesh had done the studies in the mid-1960s. If the reports do not fulfil our conditions, we will have to retract”, he added.
He said that the fiscal work of the nuclear power project would be completed within the next five years after the signing of the final agreement between Bangladesh and Russia. “I don’t know when we would be able to sign the agreement as there are 17 to 18 sensitive issues that needed to be addressed first”, Novikov added.
According to the Russian expert, Rusatom needed to complete 62 tests to draw the design of the power plant next year before starting the physical work by 2015. “We have already received the work schedule from Russia to start the construction work by 2015”, he added.

-With The Independent input

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