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Russia’s manipulations in supplying Bangladesh with nuclear technology

Derek Abbott  Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch Australia,7 Oct 19

I’m at an engineering meeting and got to meet an engineer working on the nuclear program in Bangladesh.

I asked him if Bangladesh had renewables. He said they have a lot.

I then made the point that nuclear is therefore not a good investment as his grid is now in greater need of sources that turn on and off quickly. As nuclear can’t do that, nuclear is not cost effective.

He agreed and said for that reason the Bangladeshi govt would actually never pay upfront for a nuclear station on an economic basis.

He said the nuclear program was a result of a political deal with the Russians.

He said that Pakistan and India have nuclear in the region, so the idea of Bangladesh having a nuclear station is a show of “arm flexing.”

The Russians were pushy and made a deal too hard to resist: The Russians will only charge 1% of the cost per annum for the first 30 years of operation and have agreed to remove all waste and ship it back to Russia.

I said that deal does seem too hard to resist.

I then naively asked why on earth the Russians would go to such lengths at an apparent economic loss to them.

His answer was that Bangladesh is seen as an economically strategic region. Labour costs are lower than India, and it has a very capable workforce with a GDP that is over 5 times (per head) higher than India!

I hadn’t realised that and asked how they are making money. He said that India is no longer the power house of the clothing industry. Due to lower wages, clothes are now made in Bangladesh. All your designer labels you might be wearing come from there and have been rebranded.

There are very strong trade deals between China and Bangladesh, and it his belief that Russia’s “bargain basement” nuclear deal is way of getting a foothold in the region themselves. It is a geopolitical maneuver.

What the Russians giveth with one hand, they’ll probably find a way to taketh with another.

October 6, 2019 - Posted by | ASIA, marketing, Russia

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