Alexey Likhachev, Director General of ROSATOM State Atomic Energy Corporation, and Ajit Kumar Mohanty, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission

Alexey Likhachev and Ajit Kumar Mohanty also discussed the progress of the joint Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project comprising six 1000 MW capacity power units

NEW DELHI: Russia is ready to help India with the construction of high-capacity nuclear power units at a new site, in addition to the atomic power project at Kudankulam, as part of efforts to expand cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, the head of the Russian nuclear agency said on Thursday.

Alexey Likhachev, director general of the ROSATOM State Atomic Energy Corporation, made the offer during a meeting with Atomic Energy Commission chairman Ajit Kumar Mohanty at Seversk in Russia. The two officials held talks when Mohanty visited the “Proryv” or “Breakthrough” project, which seeks to create a new power plant with a closed nuclear fuel cycle.

“We are ready [for] serious expansion of the cooperation with India in the field of using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes,” Likhachev said, according to a statement issued by ROSATOM. This includes “serial construction of the Russian-designed high-capacity nuclear power units at a new site in India”, he said.

The Russian side is also open to the implementation of land-based and floating low-power generation projects, and cooperation in the nuclear fuel cycle and non-power applications of nuclear technologies, said Likhachev.

Russia is currently assisting India with the construction of the Kudankulam nuclear power project in Tamil Nadu, which will have six light-water nuclear reactors of 1,000 MW each. Work on the project began in 2002 and the first reactor began commercial operations in 2014, followed by the second in 2016. Work on two more reactors is underway.

During external affairs minister S Jaishankar’s visit to Russia last December, the two sides signed agreements to move forward on the fifth and sixth reactors for the Kudankulam project. Jaishankar told a news conference in Mumbai on May 13 that India is “looking at additional sites for Russian reactors”.

Mohanty and Likhachev met when the Indian official visited the Pilot Demonstration Energy Complex (PDEC) at Seversk in Tomsk region, which is part of the Proryv project. They also discussed the progress in the Kudankulam project, the statement said.

Besides creating a platform with a closed nuclear fuel cycle, the Proryv project is focused on resolving the problems of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste.

The Kudankulam project is India’s largest nuclear power plant, which ROSATOM, described as the flagship venture of “Russian-Indian technological and power industry cooperation”.

“Currently, construction and installation works are underway and equipment supplies are being completed at Units 3 and 4, two power units of the project’s third stage being built parallelly. ROSATOM State Corporation is providing fuel to the power units of Kudankulam NPP throughout their entire life cycle,” the statement said.

(With Agency Inputs)