Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – Bangladesh on Wednesday signed a landmark deal with Russia finalizing arrangements to install two nuclear power plants (NPP) to produce 2,000 megawatt electricity at Rooppur in the country’s northwestern Pabna district.

State Minister for Science and Information and Communication Technology Yeafesh Osman and Director General of Russia’s state- run Atomic Energy Corporation ROSATOM Sergey Kirienko signed the agreement on behalf of their respective sides at the Prime Minister’s Office in the capital, Dhaka.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina witnessed the signing ceremony, PM’s Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad told newsmen.

Earlier, a Russian delegation led by Sergey Kirienko paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister at her office, according to reports.

State Minister for Science and Information and Communication Technology Yeafesh Osman, Ambassador-At-large M Ziauddin, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Sheikh Wahid Uz Zaman, Foreign Secretary Mijarul Quayes, Shamsur Rahman Sharif Dilu, MP, Science and ICT Secretary Abdur Rab Hawlader, PM’s Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad, Bangladesh Ambassador to Russia Saiful Huq and Russian Ambassador to Bangladesh Gennady P. Trotsenko, among others, were present.

Construction of the nuclear power plants will help ensure availability of electricity at affordable cost, an official said, adding that the government has planned to build the Rooppur nuclear power plant as part of its mega plan to generate 20,000 mw of electricity by 2021.

Bangladesh’s overall electricity generation is now hovering around 5,000 mw against the demand for over 6,500 mw.

“The government wants to complete construction of at least one 1,000 mw nuclear power plant by 2018,” Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission Chairman ASM Firoz was quoted by the Financial Express (FE), a local newspaper, as saying.

It might cost around US$ 1.5-$2.0 billion to build the power plant, he said.

Bangladesh has planned to build the nuclear power plants utilizing the latest available technology ensuring safety and security as the topmost priority, he said.

Earlier on February 24 last, Bangladesh and Russia initiated an agreement to install the nuclear power plant at Rooppur in Pabna, some 200 kilometers off Dhaka city.

Bangladesh also signed a five-year framework agreement with Russia in May 2010 followed by a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in 2009 for building the Rooppur nuclear power plant.

Local scientists also visited Russia several times and saw nuclear power plants to gather ideas about those.

Under the already agreed negotiation, Rosatom will supply necessary fuel for the reactors during its life-term and take back spent fuel.

Russia will also manage nuclear waste and help decommissioning of the nuclear power plant in future, under the deal.

Science and ICT Ministry of Bangladesh will act as the Competent Authority of the government, while BAEC will work as the customer of the proposed nuclear power plant project.

For Russia, Rosatom will act as the Competent Authority to implement the project.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) allowed Bangladesh to install nuclear power plants in 2007.

BBN/SSR/AD-02Nov11-3:39 pm (BST)