Rooppur power plant issues should be transparent

Rooppur power plant issues should be transparent

Published: 00:05, Apr 28,2018 | Updated: 23:47, Apr 27,2018

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THE government is going ahead with the construction of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, scheduled for a 2023 commissioning, but what makes people worried is that the government is not making public details of the project and its impact on humans and nature. Terming the government’s keeping the details secret from the public a breach of relevant international practices, the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports at an exchange of views in Dhaka on Thursday, raised some issues that the government should look into.

The first concern that the organisation has raised is that the government is going ahead with the nuclear power plant without any environmental impact assessment. The organisation has also blamed the government for not building consensus at the local and the national level about the nuclear power plant project which constitutes one of the two preconditions — the environmental impact assessment being the other — that the International Atomic Energy Agency Guidelines sets out before the construction of a nuclear power plant. The other issue that the organisation has come up with is the technology used in the plant, the human resources that would be required to maintain the pant, funding and India’s involvement in the project.

The government during the beginning of the construction of the nuclear power plant said that all necessary measures were being adopted to ensure the highest level of safety and security in the construction and maintenance of the power plant. It was also said that the government was strictly following the IAEA guidelines. After the first nuclear power plant, which would generate 2,400MW of electricity, the government has plans to build two more nuclear power plants of similar general capacity by 2041.

People also have concerns about the water and radioactive waste management, which are crucial issues, for the power plant in question. People living in a radius of 30 kilometres of a nuclear power plant must be shifted within a couple of hours after any accident conforming to the IAEA safety standards. But the government, it has been alleged, has failed to draw up any plans to move out several million people living in the said radius of the Rooppur plant in case any accident takes place. With the government not making details of such issues public, it has naturally created a sense of fear in the public.

In a situation like this, it is the responsibility of the government to assure the public of safety and security concerning the operation and maintenance of a nuclear power plant by giving out details and creating awareness at both the local and the national level. While the government needs to be more transparent about the issues by giving out the details so that people can understand what is going on regarding the nuclear power plant, it is also the responsibility of conscious section of society to mount pressure on the government to do so.

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