Oil Report

Bangladesh ok's nuclear power plant deal with Russia

DHAKA, April 13 (Reuters) - The government in energy-starved Bangladesh has given approval for a deal with Russia to build a 1,000-megawatt nuclear power plant, officials said on Tuesday.

“The approval was accorded at a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina late on Monday,” Hasina’s press secretary Abul Kalam Azad, told Reuters.

He did not say when the deal would be signed.

Bangladesh plans to set up the nuclear power plants at Rooppur, 200 km (125 miles) northwest of the capital Dhaka, to help deal with growing power shortages.

Officials from both sides recently sorted out terms and conditions and the two countries clinched an initial agreement on the project last year, energy officials said.

The plant is expected to cost up to $2 billion and to begin generating electricity by 2014, the ministry of power, energy and mineral resources said.

Growing concern over power shortages led Bangladesh to consider nuclear as natural gas reserves are fast depleting and most coalfields remain unexploited.

The country has nearly 60 power plants, mostly decades old and all fuelled by gas and coal.

A power official said the country of 150 million experiences daily power shortfalls of 2,000 megawatts. Peak-hour demand stands at about 5,500 megawatts. (Reporting by Nizam Ahmed; Editing by Ron Popeski)