India and Russia on Friday signed a document for cooperation on a new nuclear power project in India with the latest VVER-1200 type reactors powered by advanced fuel.
The Action Plan for Prioritisation and Implementation of Cooperation Areas in the Nuclear Field was signed on the sidelines of the 19th India-Russia annual bilateral summit here between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Russian Preesident Vladimir Putin for setting up six reactors at a yet-to-be designated site in parallel to the ongoing 6,000 MW Kudankulam project in Tamil Nadu.
Both countries have agreed on a second nuclear power project to follow Kudankulam, which envisages the construction of six reactors of the earlier generation VVER type of 1,000 MW capacity each. The VVER-1200 has 20 per cent more capacity than the VVER-1000.
"The two countries plan to implement the project of six nuclear power units of Russian design at a new site in India, as well as further cooperation in third countries in new promising areas of nuclear technology apart from the construction of nuclear power plants," Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom, which is the consultant and equipment suppliers for the Kudankulam project, said in a statement.
The action plan document was signed by India's Department of Atomic Energy Secretary Kamlesh Vyas and Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev.
"Russia will offer the reference evolutionary VVER-1200 technical solutions of the generation "3+" reactors for the new nuclear project and will increase the level of Indian industry's involvement and localisation of manufacturing equipment for nuclear power plants in the framework of the policy 'Make in India'" Likhachev said in a statement.
"We are satisfied with our strategic cooperation with India, where we implement the series construction of multiple units of Russian design on the Kudankulam site. We are counting on receiving a contract to implement a series construction of multiple units of our design at a new site in India in the same way.
"This will significantly increase the localization of manufacturing the equipment for nuclear power plants in the framework of the policy 'Make in India', as well as optimise the timing and the cost of project implementation. In addition, India is a reliable partner, with whom we are already implementing projects in third countries, and we plan to enhance this cooperation," Likhachev added.
Commenting on the agreement, Jawaharlal Nehru University Emeritus Professor Ramamurti Rajaraman noted that Russia is the only country to have successfully set up nuclear power plants in India, despite the problems posed for foreign suppliers by India's civil nuclear liability insurance law.
He said Russia has been cooperating in this area even before India was admitted into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in 2008.
"Concrete progress has been made with only Rosatom. GE pulled out of the deal, while both Areva and Westinghouse ran into serious financial problems of their own. Some discussions are still going on with France's EDF and with Westinghouse. But the negotiations are far from complete. In short, only the cooperation with Russia has borne concrete results so far," he said.
India is also collaborating with Russia in setting up Bangladesh's first nuclear plant at Rooppur.
Under a trilateral agreement, Indian companies can be involved in construction and installation works, the supply of material and equipment of a non-critical category, as well as in the training of personnel.