India, Russia to expand nuclear cooperation

V. Narayanasamy is optimistic about civil nuclear cooperation with Russia. Source: AFP

V. Narayanasamy is optimistic about civil nuclear cooperation with Russia. Source: AFP

The two countries are planning to set up further units in Kudankulam, as well as other parts of the country, a senior minister in the Indian Prime Minister’s Office said. Unit 1 at the Tamil Nadu plant IS set to touch optimum power production

India and Russia are all to set to boost cooperation in nuclear energy with the former backing the construction of more units at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) and other parts of the country.

 “Both the sides (India, Russia) have reaffirmed their commitment to the agreement concluded on December 5, 2008, on cooperation in the construction of additional nuclear power units at the Kudankulam site, as well as in the construction of Russian-designed nuclear power plants at new sites in India,” India’s Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office V. Narayanasamy told parliament in a written reply, according to an IANA report published by Business Standard.

Narayanasamy also told the parliament that the government has increased its public outreach to allay fears about the plant’s safety, IANS reported. “A multi-pronged approach has been adopted in this regard. Neighbourhood welfare programmes have also been taken up around the site,” the minister said, according to the report.

Negotiations for the third and fourth units of the KNPP are in their final stages.  Sources tell RIR that the two countries are on the lookout for a site for a nuclear power project in southern or eastern India, after they decided to not go ahead with building a plant in West Bengal.

Unit 1 to touch optimum power production

Unit 1 of the plant is likely to reach its full capacity of producing 1,000 MW of power soon, PTI cited KNPP station director R S Sundar as saying.  The first unit is now generating 75 percent of its capacity and would reach 100 percent “shortly,” Sundar told the news agency.

The second unit of the plant is likely to attain criticality by June, according to the report, which was published in the Economic Times.

It is unclear whether a Supreme Court order this week asking the Indian government to report on safety features is likely to cause delays to both units.

The Kudankulam units comprise of 1,000 MW reactors of the VVER-1000 model being constructed by NPCIL and Russia’s Atomstroyexport, a subsidiary of Rosatom. International experts have vouched for its safety, in the wake of a campaign by the so-called People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, a group which the India government has said is funded by Western NGOs.

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