Russia’s Ambassador to India Alexander M. Kadakin has said that his country is ready to help India build 16 new nuclear power generating plants. Kadakin was speaking at a public reception organised by the Delhi Study Group to celebrate his completion of 25 years as a diplomat in India.
Kadakin welcomed the Supreme Court of India’s order on the controversial Kudankulam NPP project, saying it was a good development. The Supreme Court had earlier turned down a plea seeking a stay on the commissioning of the plant. Antinuclear activists have filed petitions challenging the project on the ground that safety measures recommended for the plant by an expert body have not been implemented.
The 2000 MWe Kudankulam NPP is being constructed in Tirunelveli District of Tamil Nadu by Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL), in collaboration with Russians using its VVER technology. Construction has been completed and the first unit is set to start in July, with the second in coming online in December. The commissioning was delayed due to antinuclear protests by the locals and the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) for over an year.
The Kudankulam site will eventually have six VVERs. Commercial negotiations for Units 3 and 4 are currently in progress. Russia is likely to be allotted another site for six to eight reactors. An earlier site in Haripur in West Bengal, once earmarked for the Russians, is likely to be scrapped due to pressure by the state government and opposition by local residents.