Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin Wednesday, August 10 inaugurated unit 1 of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant. Together with J Jayalalithaa, chief minister of Tamil Nadu, where the plant is based, the two leaders conducted the inauguration via a video conference.
The unit is already in service, having started commercial operation on 31 December 2014. In July 2013 the unit had achieved first criticality and was connected to the grid in October of the same year. Kudankulam Unit 2 – India’s 22nd nuclear power reactor – achieved first criticality last month. Both units are Russian-built VVER-1000 reactors.
During the video conference, Modi said India and Russia plan to build a series of nuclear power plants. “I have a vision for India where achievements of our economic development will benefit Earth”. Modi said India plans to have 12 Russian nuclear reactors at two sites.
Putin said the unit had been built with the latest Russian nuclear power technology. “It is not just construction and commissioning of the power plant. It is well known that Russia is one of the world leaders in nuclear technology and we are glad to share with our Indian colleagues our technology,” he said. Putin informed that negotiations were at an advanced stage for Kudankulam Unit – 3 and 4.
Former NPCIL (Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd.) chairman M R Srinivasan said that Russia’s recent commissioning of Novovoronezh 6 “is of interest for India”. Srinivasan added: “We expect to build the larger size units at the second site that is likely to be made available for Russian reactors.”
Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom said that the 12 units in India will include up to eight reactors “in the Kudankulam area”. Talks are now being held, on a general contract for construction of Kudankulam 5 and 6, which is expected to be signed this autumn.