Dhaka, June 19 (UNB) – The Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase on Wednesday approved a proposal on the supply of nuclear fuel for the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP) from Russia.
As per the proposal placed by the Science and Technology Ministry, Russian state-owned firm TVEL Joint Stock Company will supply the fuel for the ‘entire lifetime’ of the 2,400 MW RNPP, which will have two units, each having 1200 MW power generation capacity.
The committee, presided over by its member Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque, also approved 12 procurement proposals of different ministries on various issues.
Convener of the Cabinet body Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal could not attend the meeting due to his illness.
Additional Secretary to the Cabinet Division Nasima Begum briefed reporters after the meeting.
According to the Inter-governmental Agreement (IGA) signed with Russian Federation in November 2011, Bangladesh will have to purchase nuclear fuel from the Russian company for the entire lifetime of the power plant, says the Science and Technology Ministry’s proposal.
Each unit of the power plant will have to reload one-thirds of the total required nuclear fuel in every 18 months and the first, second and third reload will be provided by the Russian firm free of cost.
Each reloading of nuclear fuel will cost $62 million, equivalent to Tk 523.90 crore ($1=Tk 84.50).
It was also mentioned that the price of each kilogram of uranium which is used as nuclear fuel is $550 and this price will remain static until 2027.
However, the cost of fuel will be reviewed and reset in every 10 years of supply, said the proposal. The plant’s operational lifetime is estimated to be 50 years.
The Bangladesh government has engaged Russian nuclear energy firm Rosatom as contractor of the RNPP project at a cost of $12.65 billion on an unsolicited offer.
In addition, the officials said, the Rosatom has been paid $550 million for the feasibility study and design purpose of the project.
Of the $12.65 billion (equivalent to Tk 101,200 crore), Russia will provide some $11.385 billion or 90 percent of the amount as state credit to implement the project, said officials at the Science and Technology Ministry.
They said Russia will provide the loan at an interest rate of six months Libor plus 1.75 percent per annum, but it will never cross over 4 percent. Bangladesh will repay the loan within 28 years with a 10-year grace period.
Initially, it was said by the contractor that the first unit of the RNPP will come into operation by 2022 and the second unit by 2024.
A representative of the Rosatom informed that the first reactor of the plant will reach Bangladesh in 2020.
But the ministry officials are doubtful about the start of the operation as per the schedule.
Mentioning that the per unit generation cost of electricity was initially estimated at below Tk 3, they said they are skeptical whether the cost will remain below Tk 7 after inclusion of the fuel supply cost and spent fuel repatriation cost in the overall expenditure of the project.
The Cabinet committee approved Energy Division’s proposal to import between 0.940 and 1.120 million tonnes of diesel, 110,000 tonnes of Jet A-1, 60,000-100,000 tonnes of furnace oil and 15,000 tonnes of petrol from international market through open tender for a period from July to December this year.
Two Singapore-based companies -- Unipec Singapore Pte Ltd and Vitol Asia Pte Ltd -- won the contract to supply the petroleum fuel within the stipulated period.
The total import will cost about $845.91 million, equivalent to Tk 7,147.97 crore of which $28.46 million, equivalent to Tk 240.50 crore, will be spent for premium purpose.
The committee also gave its nod to a proposal of the Power Division to set up a 50 MW solar power plant in Dhamrai of Dhaka district under the private sector.
A German-Bangladesh consortium—ib vogt GmbH, Milner and SS Agro—won the project to set up the plant on build-own-operate basis from which state-owned Power Development Board will purchase electricity on “no electricity, no payment” basis.
The tariff was fixed at 10.75 US cents (equivalent to Tk 8.60) per kilowatt hour for a 20-year period.