Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said the government would build a second nuclear power plant apart from the one to be constructed at Rooppur.
"We want to use nuclear power only for electricity generation, increasing our industrial and agricultural productivity, and putting in place modern medicare facilities for improving people's living conditions," she said.
The prime minister was addressing a function marking the inauguration of 3MV Tandem Accelerators Facilities and five other highly sensitive scientific installations at Bangladesh Atomic Commission at Ganakbari of Savar.
Hasina announced that the new nuclear power plant would be constructed in the southern part of the country. She, however, did not elaborate its capacity and other details.
She said all preparations for the construction of the Rooppur plant had been completed with the support of the Russian government and physical work on the project would begin very soon.
The construction of the Rooppur Nuclear Plant had been delayed as the BNP government had not continued the initiative taken long ago, she said.
The prime minister urged the country's scientists to give emphasis to utilisation of their research works and conducting, side by side, basic research on different aspects of science and technology.
She served the reminder that the role of scientists and researchers was very crucial in the successful implementation of “Vision 2021” for the economic prosperity of the country.
"The countries showing capacity in research on science and technology are progressing fast," she mentioned.
The prime minister said her government attached the highest importance to research on science and technology and was following in the steps of Bangabandhu for the promotion of scientific studies and their optimum application.
With State Minister for Science and Technology Yeafesh Osman in the chair, the function was also addressed by the chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on ICT ministry, Alhaj Dabirul Islam, local MP Talukder
Towhid Jang Murad, ICT Secretary Rafiqul Islam and Chairman of Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission ASM Firoz.
The prime minister said around Taka 200 crore had been spent for acquisition of the highly sensitive machinery in the six new installations of the Atomic Commission paving new horizons for atomic research in the country.
In this regard, Hasina recalled the farsightedness of her father, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, in using atomic energy for the country's development. “He had taken an initiative to use atomic energy for power generation and treatment when no under-developed county and even a few countries of the developing world thought of it.”
Bangabandhu established the Bangladesh Atomic Commission in 1973, unveiling the path to the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes, Hasina said, adding that he had allocated 265 acres of land for the establishment of the institution at Ganakbari.
She said Bangabandhu also established the BCSIR and the Agriculture Research Council and many other sector-wise institutes for research on rice, jute, fisheries, sugarcane and other important crops for the country's economic self-reliance.
Blaming the previous BNP-led government for not carrying forward the initiatives, Hasina said, "They [BNP government] suspended the Bangabandhu Fellowship and ICT Fellowship introduced by the Awami League government to support science studies and research in the country."
The prime minister also listed the educational institutions established during the period of the Awami League government for scientific studies. She said her government had framed laws for establishing 12 science and technology universities in addition to four more agriculture universities and the first universities for medicine and textiles.
She said her government had activated all research institutes in the country and given separate allocations for conducting research work. “Scientists and researchers are also enjoying the benefits of expansion of IT facilities across the country,” she said.
Hasina hoped that the country's scientists would be able to invent the necessary technology in a local perspective, an application of which is possible through using native resources and capacity.