Operations of Kudankulam n-plant enhances India’s component making capacity ….writes Venkatachari Jagannathan and Anjali Ojha
The formal commissioning of the first nuclear power plant at Kudankulam would not only enhance atomic power capacity but also the localisation of components, said experts.
“Localisation of production of nuclear equipment in India is important to consolidate Indian manufacturing of nuclear plant equipment. There is already a substantial industrial capacity for making nuclear components in India,” said M.R. Srinivasan, Member, Atomic Energy Commission.
The formal commissioning of the nuclear power plant is expected to not only enhance the atomic power capacity but also the localisation of components, said experts.
“With Russian-Indian Cooperation, the range of nuclear equipment that can be manufactured in India would be enhanced considerably,” Srinivasan added.
On Wednesday Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa dedicated to the nation the first 1,000 MW unit of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP).
The event took place via video conferencing with Modi in New Delhi, Putin in Moscow and Jayalalithaa in Chennai.
The KNPP is located in Tirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu, around 650 km from Chennai.
According to Srinivasan, the atomic power plants at Kudankulam have a capacity to generate 1,000 MW – the largest in the Indian Electricity System.
“Therefore, Kudankulam means an important jump in the size of the power. Nuclear energy is very important for India as there is a need for increased electricity availability to supply power to agriculture, manufacturing, infrastructure and domestic consumers. Nuclear energy will reduce Indian dependence on coal for electricity production,” Srinivasan said.
“Russian-Indian Cooperation in nuclear power is an important part of Indian nuclear power development. At Kudankulam four more units will be built,” Srinivasan added.
“Russian cooperation in having Indian companies participate in the reactor projects through supply of components will be a very useful step, especially because of Prime Minister Modi’s call for ‘Make in India’ on every front,” R. Rajaraman, Emeritus Professor of Theoretical Physics School of Physical Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University told IANS.
“Nuclear energy is, and has been ever since our independence in 1947, an important component of our energy plans. For several decades, progress was a bit slow because of international sanctions against India on nuclear commerce,” he added.
But after the India-US nuclear deal and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) clearance in 2008, faster progress is again being made, he added.
According to Rajaraman, in view of the climate change crisis and India’s commitments in that regard at the Paris Climate Change conference, the importance of Nuclear energy has further increased.
“Our long time friends the Russians have always been very helpful in our nuclear programme. They had started building the Kudankulam reactors even before the NSG sanctions were lifted, on the basis of a `grandfathering’ rule,” Rajaraman said.
“The first ever Russian-designed nuclear power unit jointly constructed in India fully meets all state-of-the-art safety requirements and demonstrates steady operation. Its actual performance has surpassed the design expectations,” President of ASE Group of Companies, the Engineering and Construction Division of Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation Vladimir Limarenko, told IANS.
As a matter of fact Russian atomic power corporation Rosatom is mulling about assembling fuel rods in India.
In an interaction with IANS in Moscow, Oleg A. Grigoryev, Vice President of TVEL, Rosatom’s fuel company, said it was looking forward to assembling fuel rods in India.
A ‘Programme of Action’ for localisation of manufacturing in India for Russia-designed nuclear plants was signed between India’s Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Rosatom in December 2015.
The programme includes joint machinery production, especially for nuclear power plants, as well as cooperation in the fields of joint development, mastering and technological support for heavy and power engineering industries.