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Sri Lanka to call for EOIs in setting up nuclear power plant

By: Staff Writer

June 10, Colombo (LNW): Sri Lanka will call for expressions of interest (EOI) in setting up nuclear power plant. Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekara said that “the government intends to include the safe use of nuclear energy as a part of the long-term generation plans”.

He said, “The government “will call for EOIs for establishing nuclear power plants & modern technology”.

The primary source of energy in Sri Lanka is imported oil, coal, and hydropower. The government aims to produce 70% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

In June 2023, Russian nuclear giant Rosatom offered to build a nuclear power plant that may run two reactors and generate 300 megawatts of energy.

Reports suggest that India is the only South Asian country to have a nuclear power plant, built with Russian collaboration, while Bangladesh and Pakistan are in the process of setting them up.

Rosatom is a Russian state-owned corporation specializing in nuclear energy, nuclear non-energy goods and high-tech products, according to the minister.

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts has concluded a seven-day safety review of Sri Lanka’s site selection process for its first nuclear power plant.

The South Asian nation is aiming to adopt nuclear energy to enhance low carbon power production, address climate change, and bolster energy security.

The Site and External Events Design Review Service (SEED) mission, conducted from May 30 to June 5, evaluated Sri Lanka’s adherence to IAEA guidance on site selection, including exclusion and screening criteria.

The country has identified six candidate sites from three regions following the completion of its site survey stage. The ongoing phase involves evaluation, comparison, and ranking of these sites.

Hosted by the Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Board (SLAEB) and under the purview of the Ministry of Power and Energy, the SEED mission was requested by the Government of Sri Lanka.

The expert team, consisting of members from Canada, Pakistan, Türkiye, and an IAEA staff member, reviewed the site survey report, the siting process, criteria, data collection, and application of the management system for siting activities.

They also visited and observed a candidate site in Pulmoddai, near the Trincomalee region.“Sri Lanka is comprehensively screening site-specific external hazards in the site selection process, while following the IAEA safety standards and adopting best practices,” stated mission team leader Ayhan Altinyollar, an IAEA Nuclear Safety Officer.

The team provided recommendations to optimize the site evaluation process to select the most favorable site

The team also commended SLAEB for conducting collaborative siting studies in an open and transparent manner with stakeholder organizations such as the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau, Central Environmental Authority, and the Department of Geology of University of Peradeniya.

“Sri Lanka has identified nuclear as a clean and green energy source to fulfill future electricity demand. In March 2024, the Cabinet of Ministers committed to the country’s nuclear power planning programme.

 Interpretation and application of IAEA safety standards within the context of site selection is crucial for a strong nuclear power programme in Sri Lanka,” said Professor Rexy Denzil Rosa, Chairman of SLAEB.

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