Bangladesh on Wednesday signed a deal with Moscow in the Russian capital on return of hazardous nuclear waste or "spent nuclear fuel" to be discharged from Rooppur Nuclear Plant being constructed with their assistance.
"Science and Technology minister architect Yeafesh Osman signed the agreement on Bangladesh's behalf . . . on the Russian side director general of the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation "Rosatom" Alexey E. Likhachev was the signatory of the deal," an official of Bangladesh embassy in Moscow told BSS by phone.
He said Osman held a brief discussion with the Rosatom ahead of inking the deal when they talked on the necessary initiatives for expediting the Rooppur project through signing of the related "integrated contracts and construction license".
"It's not mere a business deal, rather a long-term understanding between the two friendly countries," the official quoted the minister as saying at the signing ceremony.
Officials familiar with the process in Dhaka said the deal signed on Wednesday titled "Agreement between Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Government of the Russian Federation on Cooperation on Concerning Returning of Spent Nuclear Fuel from Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant to the Russian Federation".
Bangladesh ambassador in Moscow Saiful Hoque, science and technology Secretary M Anwar Hossain, Rooppur plant's project director Shawkat Akber and deputy secretary of the ministry Hafizur Rahman were present among others during the signing ceremony at the Rosatom headquarters in the Russian capital.
The science and technology secretary termed the IGA as a historic deal as it "provides a framework to return the spent nuclear fuel to the Russian Federation for temporary technological storage, further reprocessing and management of the product of its reprocessing".
Aambassador Hoque earlier said concluding of such Inter Governmental Agreement (IGA) would enhance the trust and confidence of all stakeholders of the project.
"It bears the testimony of the Russian side of their commitment and also manifests the dedication of the present of government to take forward the biggest technological venture in the history of Bangladesh under the leadership of prime minister Sheikh Hasina," he said.
Russia earlier agreed to sign the agreement to return RNPP's spent fuel while the Bangladesh cabinet on 5 June 2017 approved a draft of the treaty titled "Agreement between the Russian Federation and Bangladesh on Cooperation Concerning Return of Spent Nuclear Fuel from Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant to the Russian Federation.
According to an official familiar with process, the agreement will safeguard the country from the hazard of nuclear waste and it would help in disposal of nuclear waste in accordance with nuclear safety standards.
Russia's ROSATOM State Atomic Energy Corporation is building the 2400 megawatt nuclear power plant at Rooppur in Pabna district and the first two units of the plant are expected to be operational in 2023.
The science and technology ministry, meanwhile, issued a statement in Dhaka saying Bangladesh attached high importance on returning nuclear waste or spent nuclear fuel to Russia from the very beginning of the process.
"This matter was also mentioned in the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) signed between Bangladesh and Russia in 2011," it said referring to the background of the deal.