Make in India push: India likely to produce nuclear fuel with Russia’s help
6 September 2019 |

The top-level delegation talk came weeks after Oleg Grigoryev, vice-president of TVEL, said that his company was looking forward to assembling nuclear fuel rods in India.

NEW DELHI: To promote ‘Make In India’ in civil nuclear energy production, PM Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin, during their bilateral meeting in Russian port city of Vladivostok on Wednesday, discussed the possibility of joint production of nuclear fuel in India.

The top-level delegation talk on producing nuclear fuel on Indian soil came weeks after Oleg Grigoryev, vice-president of Rosatom’s fuel company TVEL, had said that his company was looking forward to assembling nuclear fuel rods in India.

“We understand India has a strong desire to localise (Make in India). We are open for such cooperation and can localise such assembly,” Grigoryev said, adding, “The fuel rods can be assembled in India using the fuel pellets we supply. But much depends on the number of units.”

After an MoU was signed on civil nuclear energy on Wednesday, Putin said, “We consider Rosatom’s (Russian state atomic energy corporation’s) cooperation with Indian partners as a flagship joint project, including that (cooperation) for the construction of a modern Kudankulam nuclear power plant.” The first two units are in operation and construction of the third and fourth power units is under way, he noted. “Under the existing agreements, at least 12 Russian-designed power units will be built over the course of 20 years.”

A source in Rosatom said, “Nuclear component shipments for Kudankulam unit-3 and unit-4 are currently on while shipments for units 5 and 6 material are likely to start next year.” Kudankulam is scheduled to have six Russian VVER-1000 reactors with an installed capacity of 1,000MW each. While unit-1 was connected to the southern power grid in October 2013, unit-2 was linked to the grid in August 2016.

The 2 x 1000 MW VVER reactors of KKNPP units 1 and 2 have jointly generated 27,033 million units of electricity till now.

The Indo-Russian delegation also held technical consultation on advanced Russian-designed VVER-1200 reactors, which is a flagship nuclear reactor of Rosatom. Being an advanced version of VVER-1000 reactors, which were earlier used in Kudankulam units 1 and 2, the new design has improved performance. It has increased capacity by 7% and operational staff requirement gets reduced by 30-40%.

The reactor’s lifetime increases to 60 years with a provision of extending up to 80 years. The generation 3+ VVER 1200 reactors are considered safe and meet IAEA safety requirements.


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