ASIA/BANGLADESH - First nuclear power plant in the country?

Monday, 5 May 2014

Dhaka (Agenzia Fides) - The plan to build the first nuclear power plant in Banglasdesh - so far passed almost unnoticed - is generating a national debate that sees civil society groups, farmers and environmentalists opposed to the plan.
After an agreement signed with Russia in November 2013, Bangladesh is continuing with the plan to build two nuclear reactors of 1,000 MWe in Rooppur, "but the people were not asked whether they want nuclear power or not", says a note sent to Fides by a platform of local organizations committed to civil rights. "People have been told that the nuclear plant will create employment opportunities and the local economy will benefit, but what about the environmental problems that it will create?" Say the activists. Environmentalists, in fact, argue that nuclear reactors supplied by Russia provide for the cooling of the nuclear fuel rods through the water which then, radioactive, must be discarded, with obvious negative effects on the environment.
The government has opened information centers on nuclear power in the capital Dhaka with the aim to reassure people on the use of nuclear energy and safety concerning the environment. "But public opinion questions remain unanswered, especially on the shortage of skilled labor, safety, environmental impact of the plant, the management of the project and its overall cost. These issues must be discussed openly and thoroughly before proceeding with the construction of the first nuclear power plant in Bangladesh", said the forum of associations calling for greater awareness of the population, with seminars and public debates, not only in Dhaka. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 05/05/2014)