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0,,15735947_401,00We, the scientists, engineers, academics, doctors, surgeons and other professionals of Bangladeshi origin living abroad as well as conscientious foreign nationals and dignitaries, are very much concerned about the safety and economic viability of the proposed nuclear power plant at Rooppur. Our concerns arise from the following considerations:

1.      The site at Rooppur, by the River Padma, was chosen more than 50 years ago for a 10MWe prototype nuclear power plant on purely political grounds by the then Pakistani Junta (in 1961). No site selection procedure or environmental impact assessment was ever conducted, but the present government wants to build not just one but two 1000 MWe units on the same site. The River Padma is now heavily silted due to extraction of as much as 75 per cent of water during the lean summer months by India using Farakka Barrage only 40km upstream of the proposed site. The remaining amount of water is woefully inadequate to meet the plant cooling requirement for even one 1000MWe plant! This would increase the risk of nuclear accident as in Fukushima (loss of coolant accident) to an unacceptable level and the present government ignores this stark reality!

2.        The Bangladesh government seems to have been blinded by the Russian offer to build a nuclear power plant and provide the loans for it. No consideration has been given to the suitability of the proposed plant (VVER-1000) or its safety standards. The VVER-1000 is quite outdated. Its safety standards fall so short that even in Russia the construction of one of the VVER-1000 plants was cancelled in 2008. Former Soviet block countries had to agree to decommission VVER-400 and VVER-1000 reactors before being allowed to join the EU. So why is Bangladesh now accepting such an outdated, unsafe and discarded model?

3.      The Minister in Charge and the Chairman of the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission claim that Russia will build each of these units of VVER-1000 for $2 billion. However, Russia has said nothing at all to that effect. Of this $2billion, $500million will be spent on an exhibition centre, feasibility studies etc. The remaining $1,500 million is inadequate as a similar plant in China, with quality third party parts, is costing $4,500 million.

4.       Bangladesh has no technical expertise or skilled manpower to undertake such a complex and high tech project. On top of that, the country has no industrial infrastructure and the transport system is absolutely rudimentary. Most of the materials to be used in the plant such as the quality assured high grade stainless steel, pipes, valves, pumps and other components will have to be imported and the cost will simply be prohibitive.

5.       Bangladesh has no institutional and regulatory framework to undertake a complex project like this and consequently safety standards will be seriously impaired. The Minister in Charge claimed that Russia has assured Bangladesh of the safety of the plant; whereas the Russian state owned company, Rosatom (reactor vendor) has rightly asserted that the responsibility of ensuring safety lies with the licensee (Bangladesh government). The Bangladesh authorities seem to be unaware of the legal implications of the licensing regime.

6.      It seems no consideration has been given to technical issues associated with the storage, transportation and disposal of radioactive material and radioactive waste. The government claims radioactive waste materials will go to Russia but Russia has said no such agreement has been reached.

Given these shortcomings and insurmountable impediments, the Bangladesh government should seriously consider abandoning this project.  The risk of mismanaging a nuclear power plant is the inevitable occurrence of a nuclear accident and the consequences are simply mind boggling – thousands, if not millions, of people will be exposed to high doses of radiation, large swathes of arable land will be contaminated with radioactive materials and the country will be lumbered with billions of dollars of compensation. When advanced countries like Germany, Italy, Switzerland  have all given up nuclear power plants and with Japan is tapering down nuclear power production after the Fukushima disaster, Bangladesh seems to be charging ahead recklessly.  A grand vision is meaningless without competence, judgement and knowledge.

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Signed on behalf of Voice for Justice World ForumDr. Anisur Rahman — CRadP MSRP FNucI, Former Principal Scientist UK Atomic Energy Authority, Voice For Justice Convenor, Manchester, UK
Dr. Hasanat M. Husain — MBE, MInstP, CPhys.(UK), AICTP (Italy), Former Scientific Officer, Atomic Energy Commission, Dhaka. Former Assoc. Professor, Dept. Of Physics, University of Dhaka, Zambia, Sebha. Convenor – Voice For Justice World Forum
Dr. Hasan Zillur Rahim Academic, Physicist and Writer/Editor, Former Scientific Officer, AEC, Dhaka. Joint Convenor – Voice For Justice World Forum, San Jose, USA.
Dr. Peter Custers Political Economist, Theoretician on Nuclear Waste, Bangladesh Bandhu Award-holder, Leiden, The Netherlands
Mr. Ezajur Rahman VFJ Convenor, Kuwait.
Dr. Ataur Rahman Former Senior Scientific Officer, Atomic Energy Commission, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Mr. Sadiqur Rahman Joint Convenor, Voice For Justice, London, UK.
Dr. Zakia Rahman Department of Physics, University of Limerick, VFJ Joint Convenor, Ireland
Mr. Hasan Mahmud Convenor, Voice For Justice, Toronto, Canada
Mrs. Dilruba Z. Ara Academic and Writer, VFJ Convenor, Lund, Sweden
Prof. Quamrul Haider Dept. of Physics, Fordham University, New York, USA
Dr. Bani AminRetired University Lecturer, Manchester,UK
Mr. Ansar Karim Khan Environmental Scientist, Toronto, Canada.
Prof. M.A. Quaiyum, Registrar, American International University, Bangladesh
Mr. Satish Kapur Political Activist, Leicester, UK.
Mr. Zoglul Hussain VFJ London, UK
Mr. Gulzar AhmadVFJ Convenor, Vienna, Austria
Mr. Enamul Majid Choudhury — VFJ Convenor, Stockholm, Sweden
Mr. Aliar Hossain — MIBA, MIBC, MRBF; Director, Regents Consulting Services Ltd, VFJ London, UK
Dr Fuad Mukkarram Munawwar Ali — Physicist and VFJ member, London, UK
Mrs. Shahida Husain MSS, FRS, Teacher, Joint Convenor, VFJ London, UK
Councillor M. Idu Miah VFJ Convenor, Greater Manchester, UK
Dr. Adeeb HusainQueens Hospital, Romford, UK
Mr. Mohidur Rahman VFJ Convenor, Kent, UK
Mr. Ahmad Abdullah VFJ Joint Convenor, Toronto, Canada
Dr. Reaz Talukder MA, LLB, PhD., Retired officer and ex-BIDS Staff researcher, VFJ Manchester, UK
and many others.

22 Responses to “Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant: Unsafe, not viable!”

  1. Md Alinoor shah

    If Bangladesh government think and decide that nuclear power plant will be stablest on any badder aria, I think it will be not possible.
    why ?
    You could find why ?

    I am a power plant engineer

  2. Sayed Faruk

    If cause any kind of leakez on reactor fuel chamber,the high radioactive particals easily spread to the padma through reserv water pond.as padma connected to every part of the country it will be a trape of death!
    We need npp but we have to select safer place!
    As we are consus about Rooppur npp,we have to arrange a press conferrance to make consus the people!so we need to contact & share one another for this social resposebilities!

  3. Arif Rahman

    There are 437 Nuclear power plants in the world where 68 reactors are under construction, 2013-01-18. Since 1950, how many accidents and incidents have there been? They identified 33 serious accidents at nuclear power stations since the first recorded one in 1952. The events at Fukushima are level 5, so far and there has only been one 7 in history: Chernobyl in 1986. The small country of Taiwan have 6 in operation and 2 under construction. It’s been noted since the beginning of time, people fear any variation of change, technology’s advancements scare people simply for the reason that they are different. So you’re suggesting that simply because of accidents that occur we should all go home and sit in a fetal position so no harm comes to us? Should we stop driving because of the fact that about 115 people die every day in vehicle crashes in the United States — one death every 13 minutes? If something exists, there will a be margin of error, that’s life. If we all shared this irrational fear then where would we be today? There would be no technological advances and our world as we know it today, would have never existed. All that is man made will have positives and negatives which is why we’re not going to just sit around to watch, we have to actually live life in order to progress upon on it.

  4. GOLAM ZELANE

    Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant is really unsafe. It is using VVER-1000 technology which is really outdated. Even if they could adopt better technology like VVER-1200 or VVER-1500 or even ACPR1000(Used in China) technology, that would minimize the risk. So Govt, with its so little knowledge, should never go forward to setup such a plant which it can not operate safely. Any accident can cause millions of death in that area. So please stop it.

  5. SHEIKH SHAHRYAR

    Honestly, I think the current regime in Bangladesh has made many mistakes in the last few years (2008-2013) and the nuclear deal with Russia is one of the major glaring episodes. So far, I have found the nearest estimate for a 1000MW NPP to be somewhere around $3 billions. An 1000 MW Coal Fired PP may be estimated at about $1 blllions. a 2000MW NPPs would costs the nation around $6 Billions and for this amount Bangladesh could be producing about 5,000-6,000MW from coal. Other than the environmental benefits the feasibility for the plant seems to be bleak. Bangladesh is too poor a country to be worrying about ‘how to benefit’ the world by reducing carbon emissions. China the largest economy in the world consumes coal for power generation and is renowned for its pollution but even with $3 trillion in reserves continues to use coal as the primary source of energy. Germany, the United Kingdom and many European countries to this day rely heaviliy on the power generated from coal. At present, only 2 out of the 50 NPPs in Japan are operating after the Fukoshima NPP disaster. Bangladesh is ill equipped to deal with a major cyclone or the likes of Rana Plaza disasters and will be no less than ‘INSANE’ to opt for nuclear power. After all, debt load for the NPPs could go as high as $10 Billion in repayment. In making the country energy secure – the government may be putting the country at risk due to the high probability of a nuclear disaster due to incomeptence and ineptness of the officials and financially unsound due to high repayment costs.

  6. Rezaul Karim

    Making the Nuke will cost $ 2 billion. Cleaning up after Chernobyl is costing over $ 2 billion. If you are living within 30 km of Cernobyl or Rooppur you better move out and come back after 20,000 years, when radiation levels will be safe.

  7. Golam Arshad

    Our next door neighbor has over a dozen nuclear power plants? What’s wrong in having nuclear plant in Bangladesh? Or are you suggesting that we sign a deal in inflated price for procuring energy generated from plant from our neighbor? What is the motivation of this fantastic article, pleading safety and environment for Bangladesh only! There will be a Rooppur Plant, and I strongly recommend, to name the plant after late Wazid Mia, a distinguish nuclear scientist, a man of integrity and honor, who never yielded to anyone!

    • Nafis

      that is such a juvenile response. These are legitimate responses. The meltdown from mishandling a nuclear reactor, which seems highly likely given our governments’ history of corruption in the energy sector (phulbaria, tengratila, etc.), would wipe out millions of Bangladeshis instantly, not to mention that the effects of such radiation would continue to affect future generations of not only humans, but all life forms in this area and the rivers and fertile lands for years to come.

      The energy crisis is acute in Bangladesh, there is no doubt about it. But building nuclear power plants without proper precautions and oversight is just a HUGE mistake. there are other forms of energy production available that are safer, but equally productive, eg – tidal wave generators.

      • Golam Arshad

        True safety regulations must be in place! We want to get out from this quick fix of Rental Energy portal, which prompted and fostered huge bonanza in Quick Money Making amongst a few selective business cronies of this Government. Why India is going for Nuclear Power? Will someone teased me with a kind response!

      • Chowdhury

        Why India is going for Nuclear Power? Because it’s equally stupid, India is after instant money so to say, with no eye whatsoever towards the future….on the other hand the Chinese are building the Three Gorges Dam, yes, its very expensive and bold but the implications in the future are way way more lucrative than any nuclear plants.

    • Mehzabin Ahmed

      Safety regarding nuclear power plants is an issue. If something like Fukushima, Japan, happens, example a high magnitude earthquake in Bangladesh, we do not have the technical expertise to deal with such issues. On top of that, we as a country are even unable to meet the environmental and occupational health and safety standards in simpler industries like the tannery industry and the ship breaking industry, let alone handle a nuclear power plant. Even thinking of the Chernobyl nuclear accident scares me.

      Many developed countries are now against nuclear power and have nuclear power phase out plans such as Austria, Sweden, Italy, and Belgium. Germany currently has a phase out plan that, by the end of 2022, it will have no nuclear power plants remaining. Solar and wind power are gaining over wind power in China.
      Switzerland and Spain have banned the construction of new reactors.

      On top of that, acquiring outdated VVER-1000 models, termed unsafe in EU countries and put up for decommission there, is not exactly a wise move for us.

      • Mehzabin Ahmed

        Japan has also taken decision to end its reliance on nuclear power by the 2030s.

      • Mehzabin Ahmed

        Switzerland also has a phase out plan on nuclear power plants by 2034.

      • kalpana

        All are speaking about most resourceful advanced countries.
        1.None has answered why India is building Nuclear power plants?
        2.What about other developing countries?
        3.Pakistan has used our nuclear man-power during Pakistani colonial period.They have Atomic Bombs and Power plants!!

        4.Disaster at Rooppur is likely to be not very nice to neighboring Indian West Bengal. Then why Indian government is so silent?
        Please enlighten me on above questions.

      • Chowdhury

        @Kalpana, I don’t think anyone should follow the way being shown by India, Pakistan….how long have they been using such technologies, they are just entering into the business…what we should look at are the countries who have used these technologies for more than two decades and have decided to abandon them, they know that they have tested these technologies and they have decided that is not the way to go….what does India, Pakistan know?

      • Golam Arshad

        Mehzabin: You comments are well taken. Just tell me, why India is going on a war footing to build Nuclear Plant in frequent number? Are they concerned about their environment or regional environment, or INDIA is a very special case or for other valid reason?. Will you please respond?

      • kalpana

        FIVE TO FOUR DAYS HAVE GONE -BUT NO ANSWER AS YET !!

        WHY? ANY MYSTERY SPECIFICALLY FOR INDIA AND CHINA?

      • Golam Arshad

        Kalpana: Now you would know better, why there is NO RESPONSE to my simple question? So, you know the rest of the story… I dare say, respected PUNDITS who inked this article… ???? Of course, my deep and profound respect, tendered ! Bangladesh deserves a Nuclear Plant! When others gleefully owning it with blessed authority!Particularly in our REGION!

      • Sayed Faruk

        You may concern about Bangladesh Govt is going to build a nuclear project with the help of RUSSIAN Govt.ROOP PUR is selected for this purpose but roop pur is a moderate seismic risk zone!on the other hand this place is situated in bigest river jamuna fault.for this reason low magnetude can bring biggest dissaster in case of any unwanted accident.
        By analysis of diffrent available data and compairing with FUKUSHIMA DIACHI disastar,I think ROOP PUR is not perfect place for a nuclear project!So request to IAEA visit this site and find out the safety.

      • Moazzem

        You should read the reason why it’s not feasible in Bangladesh in Ruppur. Only building the plant is not the issue here, we also need to know about risk assessment and risk management process and capability. Third world countries can avoid those issues or wariness easily; they really don’t care much.
        Think, why ‘first world countries’ are not building n.p.plant anymore even after having better risk management capability? Why USA, Australia, German declared that they do not want to build new NPP?
        In addition to that China and India have lots of remote land to absorb the risk, while in Bangladesh it none. Where you can find an empty land of 50km radius without living inhabitants and farming lands? I think all the points in above report is valid..
        Note: opinions and debates always healthy for a nation’s proper development.

      • Moazzem

        You should read the reason why it’s not feasible in Bangladesh in Ruppur. Only building the plant is not the issue here, we also need to know about risk assessment and risk management process and capability. Third world countries can avoid those issues or wariness easily; they really don’t care much.
        Think, why ‘first world countries’ are not building n.p.plant anymore even after having better risk management capability? Why USA, Australia, German declared that they do not want to build new NPP?
        In addition to that China and India have lots of remote land to absorb the risk, while in Bangladesh it none. Where you can find an empty land of 50km radius without living inhabitants and farming lands? I think all the points in above report is valid..
        Note: opinions and debates always healthy for a nation’s proper development.

      • Jozh

        VVER-1000 is not a reactor type, it’s reactor class.
        Translated from Russian it means “water-cooled, water-moderated, 1000MW reactot”. Nothing, but it.

        The type of reactor and power plant has another designation (for example, V-361 for very first Russian reactor of this class). In Ruppur will be built most modern post-Fukushima type (for this moment most advanced in the world in terms of safety). Old 30-40 years old reactors are termed unsafe and are closed whatever of country of origin or place.

        Same type as in Ruppur will be built in Finland Pyhäjoki (contract is signed in 2013), because it’s more safe and effective than most any European reactor and/or any reactor in the world. It wins exactly because its absolute record of safety.

        So when you are writing “termed unsafe in EU”, you are completely incorrect.

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