G-20 meet,visits by Lavrov, Macron add to the diplomatic buzz in Dhaka
The diplomatic calendar for Dhaka’s first two weeks in September looks busy due to the several high-profile visits and agreements that are planned. The series is anticipated to begin on September 7 when Sergey Lavrov, the foreign minister of Russia, arrives in Dhaka. Then, on September 11, French President Emmanuel Macron will pay a visit.
Which are the nations that will meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit with Bangladesh?
- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s Visit
- French President Emmanuel Macron’s Visit (September 11):
- Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Visit to New Delhi (September 8):
What is the significance of the Russia-Bangladesh Meeting?
- Energy collaboration: The first nuclear power station to be built in Bangladesh is being built in Rooppur by the state energy firm of Russia, ROSATOM. This project is crucial for Bangladesh’s long-term energy security and energy demands. In line with Bangladesh’s aims for sustainable development, the completion of this project would increase Bangladesh’s energy capacity and lessen its reliance on fossil fuels.
- Economic Investment: Russia has made a significant financial commitment to and engagement in the Rooppur nuclear power plant project in Bangladesh. This indicates Russia’s dedication to assisting Bangladesh in developing its energy industry and infrastructure, both of which are essential for the expansion of the nation’s economy.
- Diplomatic Engagement: Sergey Lavrov, the foreign minister of Russia, is the first foreign minister from Moscow to visit Bangladesh in recorded history, making his trip there a diplomatic milestone. This visit highlights the value of the two-way partnership and demonstrates Russia’s desire to strengthen diplomatic ties with Bangladesh.
What do we know about the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant?
- Energy Generation Capacity: The Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant is expected to be able to generate 2.4 GWe (gigawatts of electrical power) in total. It is anticipated that it will produce about 15% of Bangladesh’s electricity once it is fully operational. To fulfil the nation’s increasing energy needs, there must be a significant expansion in power-producing capacity.
- Location and Construction: The power plant is situated 140 kilometres to the west of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, near Rooppur, Ishwardi upazila, Pabna District, along the banks of the Padma River. The project is divided into two sections, with the first one projected to be operational in 2024 and the second in 2025. Construction work started in 2016.
- Russian involvement: The Russian Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation is building the nuclear reactor and other essential equipment for the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant. This demonstrates the strengthening ties between Bangladesh and Russia and their cooperation on this significant project.
- Historical context: An effort to build a nuclear power station in Bangladesh began in the early 1960s. Numerous meetings and feasibility studies with different nations, including Canada, Sweden, Norway, and France, were held, but these initiatives were unsuccessful. In the 2000s, the project gathered momentum, and talks with China and later Russia resulted in the signing of a large deal in 2015.
- Funding and Loan: The project is heavily financed by a loan from the Russian government, which accounts for almost 90% of the $12.65 billion overall cost. This funding arrangement serves as further evidence of Russia’s significant financial commitment to Bangladesh’s infrastructure development.
- Safety Measures: One of the newest Generation III+ nuclear reactor designs, the VVER-1200/523, is being used in the power plant. To stop the release of radioactive material in the case of a nuclear mishap, it comprises many layers of safety barriers. To increase the safety of the plant, additional safety elements including a core catcher and passive heat removal systems have been included.