Russia ready to assist in setting up additional nuclear power units in India

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Russia is ready to collaborate with India in the construction of high-capacity nuclear power units at a new site in India, in addition to the ongoing cooperation at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu state, according to the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom. 

A Rosatom statement earlier this week said other areas of potential cooperation between India and Russia include implementation of land-based and floating low-power generation nuclear projects, cooperation in the nuclear fuel cycle area, as well as in the field of non-power applications of nuclear technologies. 

The offer by Rosatom, as part of efforts to expand cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, was made during a meeting on May 23, 2024, between the Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev and India’s Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Chairman Ajit Kumar Mohanty at Seversk, Russia. 

“We are ready for serious expansion of the cooperation with India in the field of using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. This includes serial construction of the Russian-designed high-capacity nuclear power units at a new site in India, implementation of land-based and floating low-power generation projects, cooperation in the nuclear fuel cycle area, as well as in the field of non-power applications of nuclear technologies,” Likhachev said according to the Rosatom statement.  

Likhachev made the offer when Mohanty, who is also the Secretary in India’s Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), visited the “Proryv” project in Seversk, which seeks to create a new power plant with a closed nuclear fuel cycle. Besides creating a platform with a closed nuclear fuel cycle, the Proryv project is focused on resolving the problems of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste. 

Both the fuel fabrication and the reactor units, being built at the Siberian Chemical Plant in Seversk by Rosatom’s fuel arm TVEL, form part of the Pilot Demonstration Energy Complex (PDEC). The PDEC is underway as part of the strategic “Proryv” (‘Breakthrough’ in Russian) project. It will include three linked facilities, making up a closed nuclear fuel cycle at one site — the fuel fabrication/re-fabrication unit, the 300 MW nuclear power plant with the fast neutron BREST-OD-300 reactor, and the unit for spent fuel reprocessing. 

According to TVEL, “after reprocessing, the irradiated fuel from the reactor will be sent for refabrication (that is, reproduction into fresh fuel), thereby giving this system the means to gradually become practically autonomous and independent of external resources supplies”.   

The Rosatom statement said that Likhachev and Mohanty also discussed the progress of the Kudankulam NPP, India’s largest nuclear plant, comprising six power units equipped with light-water reactors. Rosatom is the equipment supplier and technical consultant for the KNPP. 

KNPP units 1 and 2, of 1,000 MW capacity each, started commercial operations in 2014 and 2016, respectively. The construction is underway of four more units – 3, 4, 5 and 6 – also of 1,000 MW capacity each.   

“Currently, construction and installation works are underway and equipment supplies are being completed at Units 3 and 4, two power units of the project’s third stage being built parallelly. Rosatom State Corporation is providing fuel to the power units of Kudankulam NPP throughout their entire life cycle,” the statement said. 

The reactor pressure vessel for the fourth unit at the KNPP was installed in the design position in the last week of January 2024.