With the first reactor of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project on the verge of starting commercial power generation, Russia is pushing for the commencement of Kudankulam-II, which the country’s state nuclear firm Rosatom is building with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL).
According to a June 4 Rosatom statement accessed by The Sunday Express, Rosatom chief Sergei Kiriyenko, in an official meeting with Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev, said that the schedule for this “is more defined by the customer (NPCIL)… but we understand the precise work we must complete”.
The second VVER-1000 light water reactor at Kudankulam is in advanced stages of commissioning. Rosatom could also look at a process of shortlisting three-four Indian equipment vendors for future nuclear power projects being jointly planned in India, NPCIL sources said.
The focus is on moving to a serial construction model, starting with localising mechanical engineering production to produce components and equipment in India in order to avoid time and cost overruns, as experienced with the first couple of units of the Kudankulam project.
At the Kudankulam site, where two Russian-designed VVER-1000 series reactors are being installed, 100 Russian companies and organisations are involved for documentation, supply of equipment and controlling construction and equipping process.
This has been cited as one of the reasons for the delays and localisation is being considered for quicker project execution at cheaper costs.
While the Indian nuclear liability Act has held up progress on negotiations for new project sites, the “roadmap” for development of cooperation in the area of civilian nuclear energy signed by India and Russia envisages at least one more site to be earmarked for the Russians, where a minimum of six units could be built. This, sources said, gives Russians the confidence to start serial production here as and when the liability hurdle is cleared.