Energy and Power Engineering, 2013, 5, 1526-1530
doi:10.4236/epe.2013.54B289 Published Online July 2013 (
Feasibility Study of RNPP
(Rooppur Nuclear Power Project) in Bangladesh
Tausif Ali, Iftekhar Zaman Arnab, Saiful Islam Bhuiyan, Anik Rahman,
Iftekhar Hossain, M. Shidujaman
Dept. of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, American International University-Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Received 2013
Bangladesh is densely popu lated coun tr y with a popu lation of 16 co re an d small area about 1, 47,570 Squar e-Kilo meter.
Among these large population only a few section are taking the blessings of power. But now at a stage government
can’t give the power even to that special section. Because day by day population is increasing and also power demands
is also increasing. Governments are trying to meet up the power crisis in Bangladesh by taking various steps. Like small
(10-20MW) power plants, IPP, Rental power plant etc. But these are not a permanent solution. More over these rental
and IPP are mainly oil and gas based, which are very costly and not very efficient. Besides these government are going
with coal based power station and small scale renewable energy. But coal based power station are required very large
space, its initial cost is high and create serious environmental threat. Renewable energy is not yet developed and its ef-
ficiency is very poor. Though there are many problems and threats but Nuclear Power Plant can be a permanent solution
for Bangladesh. Bangladesh government is now going for nuclear power plant and recently they have taken a project
called Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant Project (RNPP) which is alread y approved in the cabinet meeting. The purpose of
this paper is to study the feasibility of RNPP.
Keywords: Bangladesh; Nuclear; Power; Roopppur; Reactor; Radioactive; Pwr; Bwr; Desaster; Uranium; Security;
Planning; Development
1. Introduction
The heart of nuclear energy Uranium was discovered in
1789 by Martin Klaproth, a German chemist, and named
after the planet Uranus. The science of atomic radiation,
atomic change and nuclear fission was developed from
1895 to 1945, much of it in the last six of those years.
Over 1939-45, most development was focused on the
atomic bomb. From 1945 attention was given to har-
nessing this energy in a controlled fashion for naval pro-
pulsion and for making electricity. Since 1956 the prime
focus has been on the technological evolution of reliable
nuclear power plants [1]. Nuclear provides about 6% of
the world's energy and 13–14% of the world's electricity
[2]. U.S., France and Japan together account for about
50% in nuclear generated electricity [3]. The IAEA re-
ported there were 439 nuclear power reactors in opera-
tion in the world [4]. These nuclear power reactors are
operating in 31 countries [5]. On June 27, 1954, the
USSR's Obninsk Nuclear Power Plant became the world's
first nuclear power plant to generate electricity for a
power grid, and produced around 5 megawatts of electric
power [6]. The world's first commercial nuclear power
station, Calder Hall in Sellafield, England was open ed in
1956 with an initial capacity of 50 MW (later 200
MW)[7]. The safety record of nuclear power is good
when compared with many other energy technologies [8].
Research into safety improvements is continuing [9].
Besides this there are also some major accidents in Nu-
clear Power plants. The Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear
accident that occurred on 26 April 1986 at the Chernobyl
Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine (officially Ukrainian
SSR), which was under the direct jurisdiction of the cen -
tral Moscow's authorities. An exp losion and fire released
large quantities of radioactive contamination into the
atmosphere, which spread over much of Western USSR
and Europe. It is considered the worst nuclear power
plant accident in history, and is one of only two classified
as a level 7 event on the International Nuclear Event
Scale [10]. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster is a
series of equipment failures, nuclear meltdowns, and
releases of radioactive materials at the Fukushima I Nu-
clear Power Plant, following the Tohoku earthquake and
tsunami on 11 March 2011[11,12]. Fukushima disaster is
the largest of the 2011 Japanese nuclear accidents and is
the largest nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl
disaster, but it is more complex as multiple reactors and
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. EPE
T. ALI ET AL. 1527
spent fuel pools are involved [13]. The Three Mile Island
accident (1979) the most significant accident in the his-
tory of the USA commercial nuclear power generating
industry, resulting in the release of approximately 2.5
million curies of radioactive gases, and approximately 15
curies of iodine-131[14]. Though there are some disad-
vantages but Bangladesh can be greatly benefited by es-
tablishing RNPP to meet up their recent power crisis with
some consideration
2. History of Rnpp
A site for the first nuclear power plant in East Pakistan
(now Bangladesh), was selected in a remote village
called Rooppur in Pabna district in the western zone.
There was no natural gas or any other indigenous energy
resource in that zone at that time. Two independent elec-
tric power grids were built in the two zones of the prov-
ince without any interconnection between them. The site
at Rooppur, downstream of the Hardinge Bridge over the
Ganges (Padma), was thus a natural choice for a nuclear
power plant. Rooppur Nuclear Power project conceives
in 1961 to meet the deficiency of fu ture electric shortage.
A number of feasibility studies had done before the lib-
eration war of Bangladesh. After the liberation war se-
lected site was taken for nuclear power plant project in
Rooppur, Pabna. The selected land for the plant was
103.5 ha and the land for the rehabilitated people was
12.15 ha. There were three different projects approved by
National Economic Council. They were 70MW in 1963,
140MW in 1966 and 200MW in 1969. Initial negotia-
tions started in the early 1960s w ith USAID for a 70 MW
nuclear power Plant at Rooppur in 1963.As time passed,
the reactor vendors were changed, the size of the power
plant was increased and some feasibility reports were
prepared, but no contract was signed. It is because the
government of Pakistan was not concerned about the
project. By this time in 1965 the contract for the con-
struction of a 125 MW Pressurized Heavy Water Reac-
tor(CANDU) in Karachi in West Pakistan, was signed
with Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL) without any
feasibility study, even though there was a cabinet deci-
sion to build the first nuclear power plant in Pakistan at
Rooppur. Several senior engineers and the Project Man-
ager of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Project were trans-
ferred to the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANUPP),
thus crippling the Rooppur project. In 1968, PAEC re-
ceived a proposal from V/o Technopromexport of Mos-
cow to supply a 400 MW Pressurized Water Reactor
(PWR) nuclear power plant with two turbines o f 200MW
each for Rooppur. At the same time a Beigial firm sub-
mitted a project proposal for a 200MW PWR plant in
1969.This offer appeared to be more attractive than the
Russian one in view of the small size of the grid in the
western zone of East Pakistan and some unresolved
safety issues of the Russian reactor. It may be mentioned
here that the proposed Russian reactor did not have any
containment building, an essential safety feature de-
signed to contain any release of radioactivity to the at-
mosphere in case of a nuclear accident. All the terms and
conditions of the supply, co nstruction and erectio n of the
nuclear power plant were finalized with WENESE and
the contract was due to be signed in early 1971.But after
the liberation war the project was not in service due to
the effect of after war financial crisis. A French consult-
ing firm started a feasibility study in 1977 and finished it
in 1978 with a conclusion that Rooppur project is suit-
able for 125 MW Reactor. The contract was signed in
1979.The executive committee of national economic
council gave approval of 125 MW project. But the fund-
ing source from Saudi Arabia was failed to finance the
project due to some reasons. Latter on from 1987-1988
M/S Lahmeyer of Germany and M/S Motor Columbus of
Switzerland conducted the latest study and unfortunately
this project was also failed. After receiving the positive
response of IAEA, Bangladesh Government decided the
rooppur power plant on its own concept. At last 24th
February, 2011 Bangladesh gov ernment signed a primary
deal with Russia for installing a 2000 MW nuclear power
plant at Rooppur in Pabna. By signing the deal, the gov-
ernment launched country’s first nuclear power plant
project (NPP) which would be completed in 2017-18 at
the cost of US$ 1.5 to 2 billions.
3. Safety and Security Consideration for
To establish the nuclear power plant in Bangladesh safe-
ty and security is a major consideration from the view of
its small (1, 47,570Sqr-Km) densely populated and geo-
graphical area, proper site selection, Water management,
natural disaster etc.
The first and major consideration to set a RNPP is the
area and density of the people. According to the interna-
tional law the radius of the area of nuclear power station
is 30Km.The area is divided in to three circular zone with
3.14(30)2=2,826Sqr Km area. According to the zone,
zone-1 is reactor area, zone-2 is security area and zone-3
is for planning disaster. The area of zone-1 is a circular
area of 3.14 Sqr Km. This area is only for the people who
are working with reactors, others entrance is strictly pro-
hibited. The distance of zone-2 is 5 Km away from the
center and the total area of is 3.14 (5)2=78.5Sqr Km.
This area is prohibited for agriculture and industries and
only 3 people can leave p er Sqr Km that is the total peo-
ple of that zone will be only 200.The distance of zone-3
is 30 Km from the center. This 30 Km area must be free
of population. If there are more people than there will be
obstacles for rescuing the people. Developed countries
nuclear power stations are free of population. That is for
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. EPE
those reactors among 30Km is free from population. For
example if there is an explosion in RNPP like Three
Miles Island than people leaving there must be trans-
ferred 3.14(40)2=5024 Sqr Km area. So if 1000 people
leave per Sqr Km then almost 1000000 people must me
transferred from that area. It is quiet impossible. But the
problem can be solved through chang ing some regu lation.
According to the international law some changes is ap-
plicable depending the situation. For example India has
changed some regulation to build their nuclear power
plant. The have changed the zonal area. The do this be-
cause they have the same problem of large population
like Bangladesh. But th ere is a considerable think that as
per there total country area the population is to very big.
Therefore Bangladesh can their policy can be a little bit
The second major problem is earthquake and natural
disaster. From the experience of Fukushima Daiichi Nu-
clear Power plant in Japan 9.0 MW earthquake occurred
at 14:46 JST on Friday, 11 March 2011 with epicenter
near the island of Honshu [15]. It resulted in maximum
ground accelerations of 0.56, 0.52, 0.56 g (5.50, 5.07 and
5.48 m/s2) at Units 2, 3 and 5 respectively, above their
designed tolerances of 0.45, 0.45 and 0.46 g (4.38, 4.41
and 4.52 m/s2), but values within the design toleran ces at
Units 1, 4 and 6 [16]. When the earthquake occurred, the
reactors on Units 1, 2, and 3 were operating, but those on
Units 4, 5, and 6 had already been shut down for periodic
inspection. Units 1, 2 and 3 underwent an automatic
shutdown when the earthquake struck. When the reactors
shut down, the plant stopped generating electricity, stop-
ping the normal sour ce of power for the plant. The situa-
tion at impacted nuclear reactors is, in the words of
IAEA, an "Accident with Local Consequences.” The
Japanese earthquake and tsunami are natural catastrophes
of historic proportions. The tragic loss of life and de-
struction caused by the earthquake and tsunami will
likely dwarf the damage caused by the problems associ-
ated with the impacted Japanese nuclear plants. From the
experience of Japan Bangladesh is in an earthquake zone
and Bangladesh experienced the four major earthquakes
between 7-8.5 Mw. So there is a threat for nuclear power
plant in Bangladesh. The subsoil investigations, geotech-
nical, site specific seismic hazard assessment are the spe-
cific areas for major consideration for the selection of the
site. According to the seismic zoning map Bangladesh is
divided in to zone-1, zone-2 and zone-3.Rooppur site is
in zone-3 which is seismically quiet. No indication of
surface faulting around RNPP has been realized. The
peak ground acceleration (PGA) is estimated 0.18g for
the return period of 2475 years which is much smaller
than the designed basis PGA values of nuclear reactors.
From the seismic hazard analysis and sub-soil investiga-
tion, any heavy structure like RNPP with the design basis
PGA values above 0.2g-0.25g could withstand a 7.5-9.5
Mw earthquake and can damage the RNPP in future.
Experience from Japan tsun ami is also a consideration
for Bangladesh to estab lish nuclear power plant. But it is
great relive for Bangladesh that the site which is selected
for RNPP is out of tsunami. Most of the experts said that
Bangladesh may face tsunami in the Bay of Bengal
which can generate 7Mw in rector scale and may cause
serious threat. If the earthquake occurred at a level of
7.5Mw then sea level of Nijhom Dip Island will be raised
by 4-5 meter. The water level will raise 2-3 meter s in
Cox’s Bazar, Sundarban, Hatia and estuaries of Megh-
na .So these areas will be high ly affected during tsunami.
On the other hand RNPP will be located in Pabna which
is situated in the South-Western Region of Bangladesh
and there is no big and wide river which will affect the
nuclear power plant even though there is tsunami.
The waste from nuclear power plant in Rooppur is a
major consideration. The waste from nuclear power plant
will be radioactive and the wastes will be radioactive.
Radioactive wastes are wastes that contain radioactive
material. Around 20–30 tons of high-level wastes is pro-
duced per month per nuclear reactor. There are some
65,000 tons of nuclear waste now in temporary storage
throughout the U.S., but in 2009, President Obama
“halted work on a permanent repository at Yucca Moun-
tain in Nevada, following years of controversy and legal
wrangling”[17]. There are three types of waste. High
–level, Mill Tailings and Low level waste. Among these
high level waste is most dangerous. During fission, very
harmful radiation rays are released. The most harmful of
which are gamma r ays. Wh en th e human body is exp o sed
to radiation, it can cause tumors and can do extreme
damage to the reproductive organs. For this reason,
problems associated with radioactivity can be passed on
to the victim's children as well. That is why radioactive
waste produced b y nuclear power plants is so dangerous.
Radioactive fission products could pose a direct radiation
hazard, contaminate soil and vegetation, and be ingested
by humans and animals. Human exposure at high
enough levels can cause both short-term illness and death,
and longer-term deaths by cancer and other diseases. So
it has seen that radioactive waste can cause a great herm
in Bangladesh if any disaster is occur in the future nu-
clear power plant. But there is nothing to be worried
about it. Because there are new waste disposal technolo-
gies invented now a days. Bangladesh can use Experi-
mental Breeder Reactor II.A breeder reactor is a nuclear
reactor that generates more fissile material in fuel than it
consumes. Breeder Reactor II is being developed by Ar-
gonne National Laboratory in the US; almost 100% of
the transuranic nuclear wastes produced through neutron
capture can be caused to fission. Generally, the fission
products created have shorter half-lives and are not as
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. EPE
T. ALI ET AL. 1529
dangerous. This reactor, dubbed EBR-II, uses liquid so-
dium as a coolant, which means that the internal reactor
temperature is much, much hotter than that of a normal
PWR reactor, which uses water as a coolant. Another
advantage of EBR-II is that its fuel is not weapons grade
quality. When the transuranic wastes are separated from
the other wastes in the spent fuel rods, the resultant mix
of isotopes can not be used in a bomb. Thus, the mix can
be used as fuel for EBR-II without a chance of it getting
stolen by a terrorist group for use in an explosive device.
Breeder reactors “breed” fuel. That is, they are designed
to create 239Pu from 238U th rough neu tron captur e. This
“waste” can then be used as fuel.
Terrorism is a great threat for Bangladesh. If RPP is
implemented in this coun try, then there will be a threat of
nuclear terrorism. So security will be a major considera-
tion. According to the CRS report for congress (Received
through the CRS Web) nuclear power plants licensed by
NRC must be protected by a series of physical barriers
and a trained security force. The plant sites are divided
into three zones: an “owner controlled” buffer region, a
“protected area ,” and a vit al area .” Access to t he protected
area is restricted to a portion of plant employees and mo-
nitored visitors, with stringent access barriers. The vital
area is further restricted, with additional barriers and ac-
cess requirements. The security force must comply with
NRC requirements on pre-hiring investigations and
training. Bangladesh Government can follow their secu-
rity policy for tight security. A terrorist attack on a nu-
clear research facility or commercial nuclear power plant
could lead to the release of nuclear material. So to with-
stand the terror attack Bangladesh government can make
a taskforce with civil and defense high officials to protect
the future nuclear power plant in Bangladesh. After the
1979 accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant
Congress required that all nuclear power plants be cov-
ered by emergency plans. NRC requires that within an
approximately 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ)
around each plant the operator must maintain warning
sirens and regularly conduct evacuation exercises moni-
tored by NRC and the Federal Emergency Management
Agency (FEMA).So Bangladesh can also keep the option
of Emergency Response for the future RNPP.
4. Technological Evaluation
Day by day nuclear power technology is developing.
After Genaration-1, 2 &3 now at the latest moment
fourth Generation technology is available. Various types
of GEN-3 and GEN-4 pressurized water reactors are
available and the most common are the advance PWR of
Mitsubishi, Japan, CANDU of Atomic Energy Canada
Limited, VVER(The VVER is the Russian version of the
Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR). There are 3 standard
designs - two 6 lo op- 440 Meg aw att [44 0-230 (o ld er) and
440-213 (newer)] and 4 loop-1000 Megawatt output de-
signs. As with PWRs, refueling is conducted with the
plant shutdown, Europeans pressurized reactor of Sie-
mens, France; AP-1000, USA etc. Among the GEN-3
reactors the VVER have been built in Taiwan and are
being built in India.GEN-2reactors can be suitable for
Bangladesh but it is not the better option. There are two
major Generation II reactors that are, quite simply the
basis for nuclear energy. These are the Pressurized Water
Reactor (PWR) and the Boiling Water Reactor (BWR).
There are some disadvantages of GEN-2 reactors. Be-
cause this is a pressurized reactor, rather than a boiling
water reactor, water must be held at high pressures to
keep from boiling, Fission product activity in the core
builds up to high a level; Uranium must be enriched,
which is a fairly expensive process; A double loop sys-
tem is required, Because there is a double loop system,
there is considerable heat lost in the heat tran sfer, add ing
to inefficiencies; Danger in primary loop, in that the wa-
ter would vaporize to steam if there was a rupture in the
system; Inefficient reactivity at the operating temperature;
In order to replenish the core with new enriched Uranium,
the plant must be shut down; The water coolant has a
tendency to react with the Uranium and other materials,
possibly causing safety risks. Considering these disad-
vantages Bangladesh should built the GEN-3 or GEN-4
reactors with a consideration of system simplicity, eco-
nomic competitiveness, economic benefits, economic
liability, safety consideratio n, digital instrumentation and
control system, compliments for the latest safety code for
the consideration of severe accidents like Chernobyl and
Fukushima disaster, Physical Protection and issues of
nuclear security. So from the technical view Bangladesh
should go Russian VVER-1000MW nu clear power.
5. Conclusions
At present Bangladesh is facing serious load shedding
due to shortage of power generation. Thermal power
plants and other small scale renewable energy sources
are giving tackle only for short period. To overcome this
power crisis Bangladesh government has taken some
initiatives. For example, Rental power station and Quick
rental power stations. But these power stations are mostly
gas and furnace oil based. Among this, furnace oil is
highly costly and government is giving large amount of
substitute every year for this type of power plants. So
rental and quick rental can not be a permanent and effec-
tive solution. To overcome this situation nuclear power
plant can be an effective solution to overcome the power
crisis of Bangladesh, though there are some security and
environmental aspects. Bangladesh government should
ensure energy security for future by establishing a nu-
clear power plant as earliest as possible.
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