Work starts on Bangladesh's first nuclear power plant in Rooppur
Bangladesh has begun work on its first nuclear power plant, which is to have two Russian designed reactors and cost up to US$4 billion.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina laid the foundation stone on Wednesday for the nuclear plant in Rooppur, in the country's northwest.
An initial reactor is expected to start generating 1,000 megawatts of power by 2018. A second reactor would later double that capacity to 2,000 megawatts.
Bangladesh signed a deal with Russian state-owned nuclear giant Rosatom in 2011 to build the plant. Russia agreed to provide low-cost loans to finance 90 per cent of the project.
Bangladesh's decades-old gas-fired power plants are unable to generate enough electricity for the country's 150 million people, with a daily shortfall of about 2,000 megawatts.
The Asian Development Bank said on Wednesday in its annual economic outlook that Bangladesh's growth is being constrained by poor infrastructure and electricity shortages.
There have been growing global concerns about the safety of atomic power since a quake and tsunami hit the Fukushima plant in Japan in 2011.
Hasina said her government is giving the highest importance to safety issues, and that Russia would take back the nuclear waste produced by the plant.
Russia will also train workers to run the plant.
Relations between the two countries have been close since Russia backed Bangladesh in its 1971 war of independence with Pakistan.