Special Research Institute for Instrument Manufacturing (SNIIP) is the institute developing and manufacturing instruments and systems to ensure nuclear and radiation safety at all nuclear facilities built by Russian state nuclear power corporation Rosatom for the last five decades. With Russia being the only foreign player to have gained foothold in Indian nuclear power industry, SNIIP is also in talks with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) to discuss the possibility of having a production facility of radiation monitoring equipment.

Commercial Director of SNIIP Kirill Krivosheyev in an interview to ET’s Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury talks how the monitoring equipment for the second phase of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu is likely to be produced in India itself.

What are the key priorities of SNIIP?
Our institute was founded 65 years ago at the initiative of a distinguished scholar in the field of nuclear physics, Igor Kurchatov. One of the goals of establishing the institute was provision of instruments for safe use of nuclear energy related to ionizing radiation control. When Soviet Union started carrying out nuclear project, scholars ran into the problem and, as a result, a decision was made to establish a special institute. Main task of SNIIP was to create a scientific and industrial base for nuclear instrumentation. Instruments measuring ionizing radiation are main instruments to conduct surveys in the field of nuclear physics and ensure safety of nuclear technologies.

Therefore, main activities of SNIIP include research studies in the field of ionizing radiation measurement, development of new instruments and systems using most recent achievements of solid state physics, microelectronics, computation technologies, and nanotechnologies which ensure safety of processes and personnel. Everything that was created in our country in the field was connected with our institute; each and all nuclear facilities are equipped with our instruments and systems. Every place where nuclear energy is used is equipped with SNIIP instruments; looking back we can say – the first Nuclear Power Plant in the world, the first nuclear submarine, even the second space satellite was equipped with our devices. Nowadays our equipment is operated at the International Space Station making it possible for scholars to implement new methods of studying impact of space radiation on human bodies including development of science-based programs for long-term stay of a human in space.

What is currently main project of SNIIP?
Currently we are busy with development of our traditional expertise in the field of instruments and methods of measuring ionizing radiation, as it is necessary to create new high-information measuring systems, primarily for the new project of NPP with VVER TOI.

We have a complete hardware production cycle: research studies, development, production, metrology, testing facilities and service activities – we do all the above mentioned from beginning to end. First, we implement the projects that are essential to us – re-equipment of production capacities, enlargement of a scientific-research base for the works. We have the opportunities owing to ten-fold revenue increase and 12-fold productivity increase over the past five years. Specifically, in production we rely on high-performance equipment with maximum automation at all process stages of instrument production. Therewith environmental and safety issues are of top priority to us.

We make major effects in developing the area related to creation of reactor monitoring and control systems which are a key tool in ensuring reactor radiation safety – we need new developments in this area, and we implement them. We take part in all special projects carried out by Rosatom.

Does SNIIP have contracts for supplying equipment to Kudankulam NPP and Rooppur NPP in India and Bangladesh?
Yes, we have current contracts for supplying equipment for the second construction phase of NPP Kudankulam. The scope of supply will include the following Instrumentation & Control (I&C) subsystems: control and protection system equipment (CPSE), reactor control and protection system electrical equipment (CPS EE), and computerized automation system of engineered safety features actuation system (CAS of ESFAS). I&C subsystems are essential for safe functioning of a plant. The complete package of I&C for Rosatom is supplied by Rusatom Automated Control Systems (RASU, a subsidiary of Rosatom), which is a partner of ours. There are many contracts; under which equipment will be supplied by 2019 and 2021. Additionally, SNIIP will supply equipment for in-core instrumentation system and integrated analysis system (ICIS and IAS) and operative diagnostic system as part of reactor monitoring, control and diagnostic system (MCDS). A similar system was operated at the first phase; we have service contracts and perform guarantee and post-guarantee maintenance under them.

Are negotiations going on for any other contract with regards to the Nuclear Power Plant in India and Bangladesh?
We are preparing to participate in a tender to supply an automated radiation monitoring system (ARMS) for the second phase of Kudankulam NPP in India. We are preparing our package of tender documents. As for Rooppur NPP in Bangladesh, this year we hope to sign contracts for ARMS supply in full. This is a key product for us, and we are committed to receive the references. ARMS equipment scope will not be less than the one for the second phase of the Kudankulam NPP. We sent an appropriate proposal to RASU at a pre-contract stage.

India and Russia are discussing location for manufacturing equipment for NPPs. Does SNIIP have any systems that can be manufactured in India?
We understand the importance of locating the manufacturing of our equipment in India. Therefore, we have held a number of meetings with representatives of NPCIL and the plant itself related to the issue. Currently, we consider a possibility of locating production of radiation monitoring equipment, and we have submitted our proposals. To that effect, we are developing co-operation process and call Asian design institutes for collaboration. We have also confirmed to our Indian colleagues that partial production of equipment is possible at Indian enterprises to implement next common projects. We think that the indigenous component can be increased from project to project. A part of radiation monitoring equipment for the second phase of Kudankulam NPP is most likely to be produced in India.

Could you elaborate more about environmental monitoring system. What are its capabilities?
Environmental monitoring system is a broad term. First, it is environmental safety of population. Environment covers a wide range of parameters, which makes it possible to assess safety of the situation, operation facilities, safety of one or another action. Our environmental monitoring system is scalable and includes a set of monitored parameters for various directions. And, its “heart” is conventional radiation monitoring systems. We make judgment on radiation safety of one or another medium and its safety for a human. In any bank one always can see a cashier at a cash desk to have a dosimeter to measure radiation level. Any critical facility – a building, a mass populated place – is always equipped with a radiation monitoring device. Our system is scalable, that is we can monitor parameters both in a room and in a whole plant of several square hectares. Taking into account current situation, Internet, communication lines, there is no distance for our system; we can supply monitoring points all over the world, provide a manager with a pad, and he or she will observe situation in any of the points.

Our development can become popular as an efficient engineering tool to prevent terrorist threat. To prevent a terrorist from taking a vial with a dangerous chemically active substance to mass populated places and using it, we equip entrances with chemical monitoring sensors. We can also install similar sensors for chemical, radiation and other types of monitoring on overhead roads and bridges to ensure remote situation control. It is possible to integrate a system of sensors to monitor soil, water, air, and fallout content at hazardous production facilities. We determine monitoring points at enterprise maps and install equipment. The system occupies little place, is secured and safe.

Does SNIIP have any solutions for other areas besides nuclear power? Do you have any plans to enter the market of South Asia?
We have proposals for separate products that may be interesting in oil and gas area; and for thermal power. Meanwhile, we present the products at the Russian market under import substitution programs. We have already received a positive feedback from large oil enterprises in Russia. We are working at individual technical solutions for their tasks; and I think that after their successful implementation in the Russian Federation we will be able to offer them abroad, including South Asia.