Russia and Bangladesh have signed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the field of atomic energy for peaceful purposes. Meanwhile, Russia plans to cooperate with Namibia in uranium mining and processing.


Osman and Kiriyenko sign the agreement (Image: Rosatom) The agreement was signed in Moscow by Sergei Kiriyenko, head of the Russian state nuclear company Rosatom, and Yafesh Osman, Bangladesh's minister of state for science, information and communication technologies. The agreement is valid for five years, but includes the option of renewing it every subsequent five years.


The agreement provides a legal framework for cooperation between the two countries in the field of nuclear energy. It covers a wide range of possible areas for cooperation, including site selection, design, construction and operation of nuclear power and research reactors, desalination plants and particle accelerators. It also covers cooperation in the exploration and development of uranium and thorium deposits, the supply of nuclear fuel for power and research reactors, radioactive waste management, regulation, ensuring nuclear and radiation safety and security, and the physical protection of nuclear and radioactive materials. Notably, it includes the "export of Russian-origin used nuclear fuel," implying the possible return to Russia for long-term management and permanent disposal.


In addition, the agreement also stipulates that Russia will assist Bangladesh in creating a national nuclear regulatory body, as well as training and educating specialists in Russia in the field of nuclear physics, nuclear energy and related applied research. Specific areas for cooperation include basic and applied research in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, in particular, in neutron physics, thermo hydraulics, the handling of nuclear fuel, measurement and control systems and automation, as well as the production and use of radioisotopes in industry, medicine and agriculture.


The agreement follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding in May 2009 between the two countries on cooperation in nuclear energy. To implement the agreement, Russia and Bangladesh plan to establish a joint coordinating committee.


On signing the agreement, Osman said that the "historic character" of the accord will allow Bangladesh to resolve its energy crisis.


Russia, China and South Korea have earlier offered financial and technical help to establish nuclear power in Bangladesh, and in March 2009 Russia made a formal proposal to build a nuclear power plant in the country. In April 2009, the government approved the Russian proposal to build a 1000 MWe nuclear plant at Rooppur for about $2 billion, with the hope of having it operating in 2014.


Russia eyes Namibian uranium


Meanwhile, Russia has signed an intergovernmental memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Namibia on cooperation in uranium exploration, mining and processing.


According to the MoU, Russian uranium mining company AtomRedMetZoloto (ARMZ) and Namibian state-owned Epangelo Mining will form a working group to prepare an action plan for implementing joint projects.


Vadim Zhivov, general director of ARMZ, commented: "Signing of the memorandum of understanding opens up new opportunities for mutually beneficial development of the richest mineral resources of the Republic of Namibia." He added, "We are ready, in collaboration with the Namibian side, to participate in finding and developing natural uranium deposits, to promote skills training for the mining industry of the Republic of Namibia, to ensure the implementation of the mined uranium."


Rosatom is ready to invest $1 billion in uranium exploration in Namibia, according to the Moscow Times. "We're ready to start investing already this year," Kiriyenko was reported as saying.


Namibia is home to about 7% of the world's uranium reserves and has two operational uranium mines, both run by overseas companies: Rio Tinto's Rossing mine and Paladin's Langer Heinrich mine.


Researched and written

by World Nuclear News


Date: Friday, 21 May 2010
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