Bangladesh will start construction on its first nuclear power plant this fall, its prime minister announced Wednesday.The South Asian nation of 150 million reached a financing deal with Russia last week, paving the way for Rosatom to build two 1,000 megawatt reactors at Rooppur. At a press conference, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Russia agreed to loan $500 million for initial work on the reactors. Further deal terms call for Russian financing of 90 percent of the estimated $4 billion needed for the project, Agence France Press reported. An ambitious schedule envisions completion of design work by May, site preparation in August and the main construction to begin in September or October.Russia and Bangladesh signed a nuclear cooperation agreement in 2010, followed by agreements with Rosatom and its subsidiary Atomstroyexport specific to the project in 2011, according to the World Nuclear Association. A year ago, another Russian entity also agreed to help the Bangladeshi government set up its nuclear regulatory framework.The agreements also provide for fueling and eventual shipment of spent fuel to Russia.
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