With over 75-years of established track record, Russia has amassed a repository of experience and acquired extensive competencies in designing and executing cross-border large-scale nuclear projects.
By Soumojit Mukherjee,
While the bilateral ties with Russia constitute an integral cornerstone of India’s foreign policy, the strategic alliance between the two countries is rooted in history, reciprocity, and amicable partnership. Among other areas of strategic co-operation, civil nuclear energy has traditionally been regarded as the crucial pillar of India-Russia bilateral partnership, exceedingly over 3 decades. Also, the year 2021 commemorates the 73rd anniversary of diplomatic relations between India and Russia.
India’s three staged civil nuclear energy program is a reflection of the country’s economic and scientific advancements. Since then, India has made significant strides in the field of nuclear energy. Globally, the Russian nuclear industry is perceived as an undisputed leader in advanced nuclear technology, offering cutting-edge engineering and design solutions in the domain of advanced nuclear reactors and nuclear fuel manufacturing. Subsequently, India’s time-tested diplomatic co-operation with Russia over the years positions Russia to emerge as an ideal partner to further India’s civil nuclear energy program.
India-Russia Nuclear Energy Cooperation –
Furthermore, In India, Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom is constructing six units of nuclear reactors at the Kudankulam site in Tamil Nadu with an installed capacity of 1,000 MW each. The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) is one of the largest nuclear power stations in India and the first 2 units are already generating GWs into the national power grid.
While the construction of Units 3 and 4 is underway, the Strategic Vision adopted in December 2014 is strengthening cooperation in the peaceful use of atomic energy between Russia and India.
The growing partnership in the nuclear power sector between India and Russia has opened opportunities for developing advanced nuclear manufacturing capabilities in India in line with India’s “Make in India” initiative. For India, local manufacturing of critical components and equipment for upcoming Russian-designed nuclear power projects is a step towards furthering India’s comprehensive Atmanirbhar Bharat vision.
To further strengthen India’s nuclear energy prospects on Indian soil, India must pursue comprehensive technology transfer and information exchange agreements with Russia.
Academic access to Russia’s Nuclear Energy Advances –
In Russia, the growth of the nuclear industry is regarded as a top national priority, thereby enabling Russia to emerge as an undisputed leader in the advanced nuclear technology industry. Today, the India-Russia nuclear energy co-operation extends to academic level.
In addition to job creation and economic incentives, young Indians now have access to Russian nuclear education, broadening academic and domain expertise of aspiring stakeholders of the nuclear energy sector. Subsequently, attracting a new generation of highly skilled and educated personnel in the field of nuclear energy.
Owing to bursaries offered by the Russian government, it is now possible to Indian students to obtain a Bachelor and master’s degrees in nuclear engineering with no academic fees. Students may benefit from subsidized housing, library grants, and hands-on training at a Russian nuclear power plant.
For aspiring candidates, the available academic programs range from nuclear technologies, nuclear power engineering, thermal physics, nuclear reactors and materials, Nuclear Power Plants: Design, Operation and Engineering; as well as Materials Technology, Informatics and Computer Technology, Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy, Electrical and Heat Engineering.
Empowering future stakeholders of nuclear sector, globally –
Russia being at the forefront of nuclear energy advancements, it bears the responsibility to guide and educate future generations in order to further encourage nuclear energy innovation. To that effect, Russia follows a streamlined enrollment process for aspiring students, While the instructors use diverse pedagogies in addition to numerous practical and research possibilities.
Also, Six Nobel laureates have contributed to the teaching curriculum and research at the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute (MEPhI), a leading Russian university established in 1942. The university works under the European Bologna education process, and offers BS, MS, and PhD programs.
Every year, over 6,000 Indian students come to Russia to study. Although not many of them study in Moscow, a diverse multicultural community fosters exchange of ideas and culture. Nuclear engineering students from 79 countries study in Russia and their number exceeds 1,500. Students specialized in NPP receive training in NPPs operations, along with regular workshops on full-scale simulators, and at real NPPs, to fully prepare the students to work at the NPP.
With over 75-years of established track record, Russia has amassed a repository of experience and acquired extensive competencies in designing and executing cross-border large-scale nuclear projects. The two countries have identified several new areas of cooperation, academic access to Indians in Russia’s nuclear energy expertise relatively being a newer dimension of India-Russia collaboration.
Furthermore, a special focus has been attributed to cooperation amongst the younger generation, cultural spheres and people-to-people connect. As a part of this ever-evolving India-Russia partnership, aspiring Indian students interested to build a career in nuclear energy sector, may seek access to any Indian-Russian Centers for Science and Culture located in New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, or Trivandrum to know more about bursaries, application process and other details.
(The author is Russian Nuclear Education Ambassador and 4th year MEPhI student. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)