Bangladesh has officially become the 33rd country in the world to produce nuclear power after receiving the first shipment of uranium fuel for the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant on Thursday.
"Today is a day of pride and joy for the people of Bangladesh," Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said during a videoconference with Russian President Vladimir Putin to mark the handover on Thursday.
Moscow is bankrolling the $12.65 billion plant with a loan for 90 percent of its cost.
"The flagship project meets the interests of both countries and promotes further deepening of mutually beneficial cooperation," Russian state media TASS quoted Putin as saying during the programme.
The construction of nuclear power plants ‘makes a real, notable contribution to the development of the economy, strengthening of the republic’s energy security’, he added.
Construction work on the nuclear plant at Pabna’s Rooppur began in 2017. The first of its twin 1,200-megawatt units is slated to begin operations next year and both reactors should be fully online in 2025, Bangladesh technology minister Yeafesh Osman told reporters on Wednesday.
Washington's sanctions on key Russian firms since last year's invasion of Ukraine, including state nuclear agency Rosatom, delayed construction work because Dhaka was unable to make loan repayments in US currency.
In April, Bangladesh agreed to make payments of more than $300 million in Chinese yuan in an effort to circumvent the sanctions.