Over a 30-year period, Russian nuclear corporation Rosatom is expected to build 12 atomic power units in India. In an interview with FE’s Huma Siddiqui, director at JSC NIAEP and acting president at AtomStroyExport Company Valery Limarenko says the Kudankulam plant is a joint project between Russia and India, and the launch of unit 1 at the plant and a decision on it extension are important for engineers, financial experts and Indian consumers. Excerpts:
How important is the Kudankulam plant for the development of relationship between Russia and India?
The launch of Kudankulam plant is a key event for India and for the development of relationship between both the countries. It is the most powerful plant in India, and meets safety requirement. At present, it generates 1,000 MW power, which is supplied to the South Indian grid. The second unit of the plant will be connected to the power grid this year. For units 3 and 4, a contract for the performance of primary design work has been signed and is being implemented.
Cost control at each stage of production allows to check and guarantee the price of electricity generated at the plants, constructed by Rosatom. The launch of unit 1 and the decision on further extension of the Kudankulam plant are important both for nuclear engineers as its creators and for financial experts and consumers in India because nuclear energy is necessary for India: It is a thing of the future. This project is our joint achievement and we are excited.
What are the plans for the enhancement of collaboration between Russia and India in the nuclear sphere?
The partnership between the two countries is developing at full speed. The agenda includes matters relating to cooperation in the spheres that are of utmost importance for India: The economy, development of a free market, space and aircraft industry, science, technology and innovations, and cultural exchanges. The partnership will help India achieve the goals set for the nuclear industry and stimulate the development of secondary industries.
In December 2014, during the visit of Russian leaders, a number of agreements were signed to provide a regulatory basis for future cooperation. They include documents authorising the second stage of the Kudankulam plant construction and a road map for at least 12 power units over the next 20 years. The Russian and Indian sides agreed to work out the necessary measures in the sphere of nuclear fuel cycle development. In addition, Russia and India signed a contract for the supply of core equipment for units 3 and 4 of the Kudankulam plant.
The Kudankulam plant has become a symbol of the Russia-India partnership in the nuclear industry and both countries are planning to continue and strengthen their cooperation in the development of the nuclear plant.
What are the distinguishing features of the Kudankulam plant?
A distinguishing feature of the Russian design is that power units are well equipped with diagnostic systems enabling personnels to respond to the smallest sign of irregularity in the operation. In addition to active safety systems, a number of technical solutions have been implemented based on passive principles, making the project’s nuclear safety performance comparable to that of fourth generation projects.
Special characteristics of the region have been taken into account as part of the Kudankulam project. Only reliable technologies, units, systems are applied; design, manufacture and operation experience of the previous generation NPP VVER reactors (Water-Water Energetic Reactor) has been taken into account. The tropical waters of the ocean containing a large number of marine vegetation, mollusks and fauna have also been factored into the project. In particular, the waterworks of Kudankulam NPP have a fairly wide range of features, including original fish-proof systems.
It should also be pointed out that Kudankulam NPP project provides for a water desalination system for the needs of the station. Given the hot climate and developed agriculture, the project customer decided that the station would not spend water from local lakes and will generate fresh water independently. Sea water is treated at the desalination plant, and then it goes to the demineralizing plant where all the chemical parameters of water are provided.