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Ceremony marking the delivery of nuclear fuel to the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant

October 5, 2023, Sochi

Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina took part, via videoconference, in an official ceremony marking the delivery of Russian-made nuclear fuel to the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant’s No 1 Unit.

Other attendees included International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Rafael Grossi, Director General of the State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom Alexei Likhachev, Minister of Science and Technology of Bangladesh Yeafesh Osman, Rooppur Project Director Shawkat Akbar and Andrei Petrov, the CEO of a general contractor building the Rooppur NPP.

The State Corporation Rosatom is building the NPP in the Pabna District under an intergovernmental agreement, signed in 2011. The NPP will consist of two generation III+ reactors with a total capacity of 2,400 megawatts. Over 20,000 specialists, including over 4,000 Russian citizens, are working at the construction site.

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Remarks at the ceremony marking the delivery of nuclear fuel to the Rooppur NPP’s No.1 Unit

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ms Prime Minister, Mr Grossi,

Dear friends,

I would like to cordially greet all participants in today’s ceremony marking the delivery of nuclear fuel to the Rooppur NPP site and to congratulate everyone on a new stage in the building of the first nuclear power station in the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

This flagship project meets the interests of our two countries and helps strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation still further. Of course, it is making a real and considerable contribution to the Republic’s economic development and to strengthening its energy security.

I would like to note that Bangladesh is our longtime friend and good partner. We collaborate with Bangladesh in line with the principles of equality, mutual respect and consideration for each other’s interests. The foundations of Russia-Bangladesh relations were laid over 50 years ago when, in the early 1970s, the Soviet Union supported the people of East Bengal in their struggle for independence and efforts to establish a new state, Bangladesh.

Our country was among the first to recognise the young Republic and was actively involved in developing its economy, while also helping to build major industrial and energy facilities that continue to benefit the people of Bangladesh.

As a recognised global leader in peaceful nuclear energy, Rosatom builds nuclear power plants utilising the most advanced engineering solutions and technologies based on the most stringent safety standards as well as on environmental and conservation requirements.

The Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant was built and prepared for launch in strict compliance with the IAEA rules and recommendations. I think Mr Grossi, who is taking part in our ceremony, can confirm that the physical protection system for the plant is advanced and reliable. We would like to thank the IAEA for their assistance in this project.

Naturally, Russia’s efforts are not limited to building the facility; we will provide assistance to our Bangladeshi partners throughout the entire life cycle of the nuclear project, including our obligations for the long-term deliveries of reactor fuel, plant maintenance, and handling nuclear waste.

As part of our cooperation under the Rooppur project, Russia is training highly qualified specialists for the Bangladeshi nuclear industry. More than 80 Bangladeshi students who seek careers in the nuclear industry have already completed their studies at Russian universities, and their number will continue to grow. In fact, we are not simply building a nuclear power plant but creating an entire nuclear sector, a peaceful atom industry in Bangladesh, and we are doing it together with you, dear friends.

Since last year, an education and training centre for Bangladeshi personnel has been operating at the nuclear power plant. Specialists that are trained there will oversee basic technological processes at the plant, with over 1,000 Bangladeshi citizens having already completed their training. Their essential professional skills and knowledge will allow them to be employed not only in the nuclear industry but also in many other economic sectors in Bangladesh.


Now, as part of our ceremony, we will hand over to our Bangladeshi colleagues a certificate of delivery of Russian nuclear fuel to the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant’s Energy Unit 1. Upon this, Rooppur will receive the official nuclear facility status.

I would like to once again express my gratitude to Madam Prime Minister for her personal attention to our bilateral cooperation both in peaceful nuclear energy and all other key areas. Thank you very much, Madam Prime Minister.

I would like to wish all our Russian and Bangladeshi colleagues and friends future success and all the best.

Thank you for your attention.

Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina (retranslated): In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

Mr President, thank you very much for finding the opportunity to take part in our ceremony.

Mr Moderator, guests, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi, Rosatom Director General Alexei Likhachev, and all our colleagues invited to the ceremony,

As-salamu alaykum.

I wholeheartedly welcome you all to the ceremony held to mark the delivery of nuclear fuel to the Rooppur NPP. Thank you very much.

It is a day of special pride and joy for the people of Bangladesh. The delivery of nuclear fuel to the Rooppur NPP, which is the result of hard work by the government of the Awami League party, marks a new stage in the construction of the plant.

On this remarkable day, I would like to most respectfully commemorate Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, as well as four national leaders, three million heroes of our struggle for independence, and 200,000 humiliated mothers and sisters.

I would also like to express gratitude to the Government and people of the friendly Russian Federation, which provided much-needed assistance in our struggle for independence and in the post-war reconstruction of our ruined country, and which also gave us a helping hand in the implementation of the much-anticipated Rooppur NPP project.

Our countries have marked 50 years of bilateral relations. I would like to remind you that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman made a historic visit to Russia. We will not forget this.

Today will go down in history, and I would like to remind you that the Father of the Nation gave Bangladesh a constitution nine months after we gained independence. Article 16 of our Constitution, titled Rural Development and Agricultural Revolution, says: The State shall adopt effective measures to bring about a radical transformation in the rural areas through the promotion of an agricultural revolution, the provision of rural electrification, the development of cottage and other industries, and the improvement of education, communications and public health.

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman wanted to build a nuclear power plant in Bangladesh with the assistance of Russia, specifically with the assistance of Russia. The steps which the Father of the Nation took back then have helped us launch this project.

I also want to mention outstanding nuclear physicist Wazed Miah, who was appointed the first head of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant project back when Mujibur Rahman was president. Unfortunately, Dr Miah did not see the completion of the project.

We continue to adhere to the Vision 2021 concept and have developed an energy road map. We included nuclear energy in that road map. Implementation of the Rooppur NPP project began in 1996. We developed an action programme for Bangladesh in nuclear energy, requested assistance from the IAEA and, with sincere support from the IAEA, we successfully developed a clear action plan for the nuclear industry.

Although it was not possible to finish the project or bring it to a logical conclusion earlier, we came back to power in 2008 and declared the Vision 2021 concept, taking action to complete the Rooppur NPP project. Our friend Russia helped us achieve that. Moreover, we enjoyed the IAEA’s overarching support from the very beginning.

Therefore, I want to thank the Government of the Russian Federation, the IAEA and everybody involved in the project. Please accept my sincere gratitude. I am particularly grateful to President of Russia Vladimir Putin. Thank you very much, my enormous gratitude to you.

In January 2013, the President and I met in Moscow where, in a warm and hospitable setting, we signed an agreement on the construction of the Rooppur NPP. I remember that event with fondness. The project was officially launched on October 2, 2013. To this day, the project is being implemented with the use of the most advanced technology and enjoys your comprehensive support.

Thank you to Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi for his support, also with the implementation of this project.

In 2017, at the invitation of IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, I flew to Vienna to discuss the construction project with specialists. I urged the experts to ensure the highest level of security and provide overarching help and to implement proper control and monitoring. I have to give credit to the IAEA. They promised overall support and continue to provide it to this day.

In 2021–2022, the reactors of the first and second units were installed in their permanent places as per the design. Today, nuclear fuel was delivered to the power plant.

The Russian Federation is also providing proper training for the people who will ensure the operation and protection of this nuclear power plant. Since there is a similar project in friendly India, we also sent some of our staff there for training.

We will use nuclear energy to maintain peace. We also express our strong commitment to complete nuclear disarmament worldwide and to the implementation of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

We have drafted a law on oversight in the field of nuclear energy, and we have also created a department for supervision in the field of nuclear energy. This body maintains intensive contacts with the IAEA and ensures the safety of this nuclear power plant at all levels.

We have made a commitment that the first unit of the Rooppur NPP will begin to generate power in 2023, and the second reactor, in 2024. We can say that we are already close to achieving this goal: the first power unit of our plant will soon supply the national energy system with 1,200 megawatts of electricity.

We have established a special project vehicle in Bangladesh to operate this nuclear power plant. The new company will be managing the facility.

This plant is designed and built in such a way as to prevent any possible safety problem or threat. In addition, we have signed an agreement with the Russian Federation on the management of spent nuclear fuel, and the Russian Federation – I stress this – will take back all spent nuclear fuel.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Our country has overcome all adversity and today, it is a role model for the world. Russia should be given credit for maintaining bilateral relations, which also contribute to our country’s development. Pray God we will be able to make Bangabandhu’s dream come true by building a “smart Bangladesh” in the near future with the help of young professionals.

Once again, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to President Putin. Thank you very much.

On behalf of all our people, all our specialists, I would like to thank the Russian Federation and its specialists, all the ministries and agencies, companies and organisations involved.

Thank you all very much.

Glory to Bengal! Glory to Bangabandhu! Long live Bangladesh!

(Ceremony to hand over the certificate of delivery of Russian nuclear fuel to the Rooppur NPP.)

October 5, 2023, Sochi