India, Bangladesh and Russia have signed tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) for cooperation in construction of Rooppur nuclear power plant near Dhaka, Bangladesh. It is first initiative under India-Russia nuclear deal to undertake atomic energy projects in third countries. It will also be India’s first atomic energy venture abroad.
Rooppur nuclear power plant
Rooppur Nuclear project is having capacity of 2*1200 MWs. It is Bangladesh’s first atomic energy project. It is being built with Russia’s help near Dhaka. After commissioning of this plant, Bangladesh will become third South Asian country after India and Pakistan to harness atomic energy for energy purpose.
Russia will build nuclear power plant for this plant on a turnkey basis. It means that contractor will complete whole project and they will be liable for any problems that arise in plant. Russia’s scope of work includes design, production and supply of equipment, construction, installation, start-up and commissioning.
India being not member of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) will not participate directly in construction of atomic power reactors. But, Indian companies will be involved in construction and installation works and in supply of equipment of non-critical category.
In December 2014, India and Russia had signed ‘Strategic Vision for Strengthening Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy’ to explore opportunities for sourcing materials, equipment and services from Indian industry for construction of Russian-designed nuclear power plants in third countries. Moreover, India had signed a civil nuclear cooperation deal, along with two more agreements, with Bangladesh in April 2017 under which two sides can supply and manufacture equipment, material for atomic power plant.
The nuclear deal with Bangladesh allows Indian nuclear establishment to grow, internationally as for years it was not been able to grow due to sanctions imposed on New Delhi post 1974 Pokhran tests. However, it is not clear what kind of nuclear collaboration India is having with Bangladesh since both countries are not members of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), an elite grouping of 48 members that prevent nuclear proliferation by controlling export of materials, equipment and technology that can be used to manufacture nuclear weapons.