Dhaka – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said that her government has tagged the highest importance to the safety and radiological protection in construction of the country’s first nuclear power plant.
“We have been very transparent in terms of implementation of the mega project,” the Prime Minister said on Thursday inaugurating the first concrete pouring work of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant in Pabna.
Bangladesh has strictly followed the safety standard and other guidelines set by the International Atomic Energy Authority, she said.
The Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority has been continuously supervising and monitoring the safety aspects at every step of the plant as per Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Act-2012 and the IAEA guidelines, added the Prime Minister.
The law was enacted to strengthen the national nuclear regulatory infrastructure to ensure safe and secure applications to nuclear techniques and building the country’s first nuclear power plant.
Every transparent was maintained in signing major international treaties, agreements and protocols related to the nuclear non-proliferation, Hasina said dispelling confusion created by a section of people over the safety and security of the proposed plant.
“Many have raised various types of question over the construction of this plant. But, I think those who raised the questions lack self-confidence to a big extent,” she said.
Referring to Bangabandhu’s autobiography “Unfinished Memoirs of Bangabandhu”, Hasina said that there are some people who suffer from jealousy and do not like the development of others as well as they are always out to find negative sides in everything.
“There is a quarter in the country who always thinks them experts in every subject and they raise questions in the TV channels on various issues,” she said.
The premier also suggested those who are participating in the TV talk shows as well as suffering from anxiety not to misuse their energy in such criticisms, rather to preserve and utilize that energy in giving suggestion on how the country could be advanced further towards prosperity.
Hasina said this is a joyful day for us as Bangladesh entered the nuclear world with beginning of the construction work of the main structure. “It’s a pride and joy for us as a nation,” she said.
She said the construction of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant is our long-cherished dream that was sown in 1961 in the then Pakistan era. At that time several physical works, including land acquisition, were completed, she said.
“But the Pakistan government abruptly stopped the work and shifted the plant to West Pakistan showing step-motherly attitude to the East,” she said.
After liberation in 1971, she said, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman undertook reconstruction of the war-ravaged country alongside construction of Rooppur nuclear plant.
Bangabandhu ordered to establish contact with the nuclear power plant construction firms.
“As per his directive, work started but with his brutal assassination on 15th August 1975, the entire process was abandoned,” she said.
The prime minister said the Awami League government after assuming office again in 1996 revived the project for its implementation. Mentioning that establishment of a nuclear power plant is a complex and lengthy process, she said nuclear safety and waste management are very critical.
“So, the construction process goes through a lot of international rules and regulations … we included the nuclear power generation programme in our energy policy of 1996,” she said.
Science and Technology Minister Architect Yeafesh Osman presided over the function, while Land Minister Shamsur Rahman Sharif Dilu, Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology Ministry Dr AFM Ruhal Haque, Russia’s state-run atomic energy body Rosatom’s Director General Alexey Likhachev and International Atomic Energy Agency Director Dohee Hahn spoke on the occasion.
Ministers, advisers to the premier, parliament members and high civil and military officials were present on the occasion.