India, Russia likely to sign pact on Kudankulam during PM Modi’s visit

Narendra Modi indianbureaucracy
Narendra Modi indianbureaucracy

In a move to scale up cooperation in the nuclear energy sector, India and Russia are likely to sign an agreement on Kudankulam units 5 and 6 during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Eurasian country from Wednesday.

Sources said the government is also planning to make optimum use of the available nuclear sites in various states to accommodate more atomic reactors to meet energy-starved country’s growing needs.

Modi is scheduled to visit Russia from December 23-24 to hold an annual summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

Ahead of the Prime Ministerial visit, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Rosatom – the Russian counterpart of the India’s Department of Atomic Energy – Nikolai Spasskiy paid a visit to India on December 7-8, during which he is believed to have held negotiations with Sekhar Basu, Secretary DAE regarding the possible inking of a pact of unit 5 and 6 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) during Modi’s stay.

“During negotiations, the parties discussed issues of final acceptance of Unit 1 of Kudankulam NPP, achievement of the minimum controlled power at Unit 2, beginning of construction of Units 3 and 4, and signing of the general framework agreement for Units 5 and 6, as well as further cooperation development steps,” Rosatom said.

The agreement details were also deliberated upon, sources said.

Unit 5 and 6 of VVER technology are expected to be of the same MW like units 1-4, but the cost details of the project is yet to be finalised.

In what could be a major policy decision, the government will now insist that the states should have more reactors at one site. The reason behind coming up with a policy is taken in view of the limited number in terms of space available for building a nuclear site.

“This move not only helps address the location issues which is difficult in view of public opinion against nuclear plants, but also helps in reducing infrastructure cost. For example, the DAE does not have to spent on building infrastructure for its staff, like the colonies, schools as the existing sites take care of it. It also address the issue of deployment of security personnel,” he said.

The government is constructing six reactors in new projects like Jaitapur (EPR 1000×6) in Maharashtra built with French technology, Kovadda in Andhra Pradesh (1000MW x 6) and Mithi Virdhi in Gujarat.

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