The economics of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant

Mar 1, 2017
The contracted price for the 2,400 MWe Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, consisting of two Russian VVER-1200 reactors, is USD 12.65 billion. If we add USD 550 million, which we already spent for the project, the total price comes to USD 13.2 billion. This is a big sum of money, enough to build four Padma bridges! Is it reasonable? For comparison of power plants of different sizes, it is convenient to quote the price on per unit (kWe) basis. USD 13.2b for 2,400 MWe comes to USD 5,500/kWe on this basis. 
In 2009, I advised the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) at a roundtable conference organised by The Daily Star to build two generation-III nuclear reactors, each of 1,000 MWe, at Rooppur. It was expected that the plant would be operational by 2018-19. Based on the experience of two similar reactors (VVER-1000) being built by the Russians at Kudankulam (Units 1 and 2) in India at that time, I estimated that the cost for a nuclear plant at Rooppur would not exceed USD 2,000/kWe. It may be mentioned here that the construction of the Kudankulan Units 1 and 2 started in 2002, and actually cost USD 1,300/kWe.
Unfortunately, there was very little activity on the Rooppur project until 2013 when BAEC signed several agreements with the Russians for a feasibility study and for site preparations. As a matter of fact, BAEC should have undertaken a large-scale programme of recruitment, and training of engineers in 2009, as suggested at the roundtable, and developed expertise in this field. They missed this opportunity due to their inexperience in dealing with nuclear power projects. We are now paying a heavy price for their mistake. We cannot blame the BAEC alone as it lost its autonomy with time and all decisions on Rooppur are now taken by the Ministry of Science and Technology.
Read more at:

Daily Star, March 2, 2017 

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