Bangladesh’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, has said the country is keen to build two more nuclear units at the Rooppur nuclear power plant, which is currently being constructed by Russian state-owned nuclear company Rosatom.

In a meeting with Rosatom director-general Alexey Likhachev, Hasina said: “We are interested in building” additional nuclear power units at Rooppur, “if there is any scope to do so”. She also urged Rosatom to “utilise Bangladeshi expertise in other nuclear power plant construction projects”, according to World Nuclear News.

Likhachev said that along with building new units at Rooppur, the “possibility of construction of a multi-purpose high-power research reactor is being reviewed”.

According to a Dhaka Tribune report of the meeting, Likhachev and Hasina agreed that Spent Nuclear Fuel produced by the first and second units at Rooppur would be sent back to Russia. Hasina highlighted that Bangladesh was grateful to Russia for helping it ensure energy security through nuclear power. The developments signify a burgeoning relationship between the two nations, with Hasina sending her congratulations to Russian President Vladimir Putin on his re-election.

The first two units at Rooppur are 85% complete and are expected to begin providing electricity to the national grid in 2025, Likhachev said at the meeting.

Construction of the Rooppur nuclear power plant, based 160km away from Dhaka, began in 2017. The two units, which are both Russian VVER-1200 reactors, will have an initial life cycle of 60 years, with a potential further 20-year extension.

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However, global sanctions placed on Russia since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine in 2022 have stunted the progress of the project and caused delays. German company Siemens refused to supply the gas-insulated switchgear needed at Rooppur, leading Bangladesh to find a Chinese company to supply the necessary equipment.