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Construction of Rooppur nuke power plant starts defying risks

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02nd-Dec-2017       
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BANKING purely on Russian loan and promises and also by dumping potential risk factors the PM has inaugurated the initial phase of Rooppur's nuclear power plant on Wednesday. When majority of the countries of the world are shifting their attention from nuclear based power plants to more conventional ones, the ruling party appeared adamant to embrace it and make the country the 32nd member of the nuclear club. However, the million dollar question, as have been raised many times before, is Bangladesh prepared to construct and maintain a nuclear plant or not?
International and Bangladeshi scientists and experts have voiced no less than 8 major concerns, and given the horrific nuclear disasters in Russia's Chernobyl and Japan's Fukushima the government had ample time to consider and re-consider its decision. Most importantly, the Bangladesh government seems to have been blinded by the Russian offer to build a nuclear power plant and go after 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 The VVER-1000 is quite outdated.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. Moreover, being built near the river Padma, the government should have realised the fact - 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 its deadly Farakka Barrage barely 40km upstream of the proposed site. The remaining amount of water is woefully inadequate to meet the plant's cooling requirement for even one nuclear plant - this would undeniably, increase the risk of nuclear accident as in Fukushima. Then follows the question of skilled, experienced technicians and individuals, where the Russians have promised training and assistance without a timeframe.
Nevertheless, enough has been penned, argued and debated regarding the feasibility, disadvantages and risks about the Rooppur power plant so far, but all attempts to deter the government seems to have went in vain. Now that the work of the plant has commenced with the expectation to make it operational and add power to the national grid by 2024 - the fear of buying costly energy has erupted among the public once more. In a country where gas and electricity have frequently become short in supply with regular price hikes - the Rooppur nuclear plant seems more of a luxurious white elephant. The government should take full responsibilities for the plant's future liabilities and repercussions.

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