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Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant: TIB expresses cautious optimism, concerned about the reliability and security; Demands ensuring transparency and full public disclosure of important information (English)

Dhaka 27 December 2015: Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) today said Bangladesh’s signing of an agreement with Russia to build the country’s first nuclear power plant at Rooppur in Pabna district may be viewed as a positive and bold step by the Government for moving to a relatively low-curbon source of energy. However, any concrete development in this regard must take into consideration the very high risks and high costs involved in nuclear energy for a country like Bangladesh that has to depend almost totally on the foreign supplier for necessary raw materials, skills and expertise.
In a statement today TIB’s Executive Director Dr. Iftekharuzzaman said: “We are concerned particularly for the fact that Russian nuclear reactors are widely considered even by reputed Russian environmentalists as unsafe and unrelable. Atomsroyexport, owned jointly by Rosatom and Gazprombank, both Russian State-owned institutions, is not known to be credible enough to ensure suppliers’ liability in case of accident.”
We, therefore, call upon the Government and the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) for transparency in the content and process of the agreement. We particularly call for disclosure for public knowledge such information as: a) specific measures provided in the agreement for ensuring liability of suppliers in case of any negative environmental impact as well as risks and accidents with potentials of threats to safety and security of life and living; b) provisions for financing of this highly expensive project including terms and conditions for funding; c) statement of potential benefits and burdens for the people of Bangladesh compared to those of the suppliers; and above all d) whether and to what extent the deal has been reached ensuring competitiveness in terms of globally available options of efficiency, economy, technology and safety.
Dr. Zaman further observed that the Bangladeshi media in September reported that the total cost of two power plants would be around US$ 4 billion; this has shot up to nearly US$ 13 billion in the last three months. This variation in the cost of the project can potentially raise many questions. Since the people of Bangladesh will eventually bear the burden of this project, they have a right to know all relevant information in this regard, he added.
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