Dhaka: Energy-starved Bangladesh today laid the foundation stone for its first 2,000-MW nuclear power plant complex to be built with Russian assistance.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated work on the Rooppur nuclear power plant at Pabna district the country`s northwest, which will have two 1,000-MW reactors that are expected to cost about USD 4 billion.
"It is a milestone in the use of technology (in Bangladesh)...I believe it fulfils the nation`s dream," Hasina told the groundbreaking ceremony.
The nuclear plant is expected to be completed in the next five years and will provide 10 per cent of the country`s total power under an energy roadmap, she said.
Bangladesh aims to increase power production to 20,000 MW by 2021.
The ceremony came two years after Bangladesh and Russia signed a crucial agreement on cooperation for the nuclear plant, which is expected to be completed by 2017-18.
Bangladesh signed an initial deal with Russia`s state-run nuclear agency Rosatom in November 2011 to build the plant to meet its growing energy needs.
During Hasina`s visit to Moscow in January, the two sides signed an agreement whereby Russia will provide a USD 500 million loan to Bangladesh for the plant.
Officials said the Rooppur plant will be built with "third generation technology" and protected by five layers of security in line with directives of the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA), which gave its green signal for the project in 2007.
A total of 162 acres was acquired for the plant in 1963, when Bangladesh was the eastern wing of Pakistan but the project was shelved for decades awaiting IAEA approval.