India is in talks for a new location, possibly within the new state of Andhra Pradesh, where it could build a new nuclear plant with Russian assistance, RIR learned from Department of Atomic Energy.
“Discussions between Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Government of Andhra Pradesh for location of the second Russian technology based Light Water Reactor (LWR) Nuclear Power Plant are at an advanced stage,” a source in the Department said.
The Indian Government has apparently accorded “In-principle” approval for setting up of nuclear power reactors with international technical co-operation with the United States of America (USA) at Kovvada (Srikakulam District) in Andhra Pradesh.
“At present, the pre-project activities comprising of Land Acquisition, Environmental Clearance by Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), geo-technical and other scientific studies for regulatory clearances are in progress at the site,” officials said.
Russia is the only country today that is really cooperating with India in the field of nuclear energy. In the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the first unit of the Kudankulam NPP, built with Russian assistance, has begun commercial operations, while the second unit is ready and is now in the hot running stage; the final testing before loading of nuclear fuel; and should begin functioning soon.
Construction work on the third and fourth units of Kudankulam NPP should start in 2016. These are planned to be commissioned in the years 2020-2021.
During his visit to New Delhi on December 11, 2014, President Vladimir Putin signed a document defining plans for Russia to assist in building at least 12 nuclear power plants (NPP) in India.
Recently the Indian Express newspaper reported that Russia has proposed a plan to involve India in building Russian-designed nuclear power plants in third countries, According to the newspaper, the cooperation is to be extended also to the area of joint extraction of natural uranium and the production of nuclear fuel and atomic waste elimination.
“Russia has also offered to build over 20 nuclear power units in India, up from the 12 offered earlier”, it added. It also quotes a high-level source, saying that Moscow saw it as “long-term, mutually beneficial cooperation” in the nuclear sector.
A government source of RIR has confirmed that such negotiations have taken place, and added that this could lead to “joint construction of power stations and other aspects of cooperation, including the training of personnel in other Asian countries, including Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka”.
“This, in particular, is due to logistical issues. New Delhi is much closer to these countries than is Moscow. Moreover, our Indian partners are ready to train their Asian colleagues,” he said.
In addition, RIR’s source added that “Russia and India, in fact, have reiterated their commitment to cooperation in this field.”
“Cooperation in the field of nuclear energy was one of the main topics in the talks between the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Russian President in Ufa during the recent BRICS Summit. Emphasis was placed on the future construction of facilities in India, with a possible increase in the number of units.”