Indo-Russian Relations
Daily coverage of what makes ties between Delhi & Moscow ever-lasting — even in times of western sanctions.

Russia Could Play Key Role in India's Best Bet to Achieve its Nuclear Power Target

© Sputnik / Maksim Blinov / Go to the mediabankA Russian national flag and flags with the logo of Rosatom flutters at the construction site of a cooling tower at the Kursk II nuclear power plant near the village of Makarovka outside Kurchatov, Kursk region
A Russian national flag and flags with the logo of Rosatom flutters at the construction site of a cooling tower at the Kursk II nuclear power plant near the village of Makarovka outside Kurchatov, Kursk region - Sputnik India, 1920, 15.05.2024
A nuclear energy expert has told Sputnik India that Rosatom could play a key role in meeting India's goal of tripling its nuclear power generation capacity by 2030.
Indian External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar has revealed that New Delhi and Moscow were exploring more sites for setting-up Russian-built nuclear reactors in India.
"We are currently in discussions regarding the progress at Kudankulam. In fact, we are exploring additional sites for Russian reactors," Jaishankar told an event in Mumbai this week.
The top diplomat stressed that New Delhi's civil nuclear cooperation arrangements with countries like France and the US was taking time due to liability issues, as enshrined in the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act 2010.
Russian company Rosatom has constructed four units with capacity of 1,000 Megawatt (MW) each at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) in Tamil Nadu, the largest plant in the country. In December, both the governments agreed to construct two more reactors.
On the other hand, the 123 Agreement signed between India and the US in 2010 is yet to take off. India's Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and French company Areva also agreed in principle to build a 9,900 MW civil nuclear plant in Jaitapur in Maharashtra in 2010. The proposed Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project (NPP) is yet to become operational.

Russia Possesses Enormous Advantage over US and Europe in Civil Nuclear Tech, Expert Says

Alexey Anpilogov, a political scientist and an expert in the field of nuclear energy, told Sputnik India that Russian civil nuclear technology and engineering easily surpassed that of Europe, or the US for that matter.

Spelling out the basics of civil nuclear energy, Anpilogov explained that India didn't have any large uranium reserves, which is the main fuel for nuclear reactors.
The expert, however, pointed out that India had large untapped reserves of thorium.
"And in the long term, of course, I see precisely the demand for Russian engineering and fundamental ideas in nuclear energy, which are indeed now in many ways ahead of their time. And the thorium cycle, if a lot of problems associated with its organization are solved, is also the nuclear energy of the future. And in this nuclear energy of the future on the so-called fourth generation of nuclear reactors, Russia has undoubted success," Anpilogov explained.
The Russian expert noted that Moscow already possessed a fourth generation nuclear reactor.
"That is the VVER-TOI, which is currently being built in Russia. VVER-TOI will now be put into operation at the Kursk Nuclear Power Plant. This will be the first reactor of this type. Russia has a lot of projects to close the nuclear cycle. This includes our BN-800 fast sodium station and the Brest reactor using the promising lead energy carrier," Anpilogov stated.
He said that Russia's "scientific and engineering developments" had been generating great interest in India because of the targets set by the South Asian nation.
Anpilogov reasoned that this was because of the fact that India was one of the fastest-growing electricity markets in the world.

Russia's Expertise in Dealing with Weapons-Grade Uranium

Anpilogov highlighted that India had been operating licensed copies of Canadian-origin CANDU reactors, which operate on heavy water and consequently, natural uranium.
He, however, stated that these Indian reactors also produce "weapons-grade plutonium".
"The challenge for India is that it has been forced to ask for a special regime in the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Weapons-grade plutonium is looked with considerable skepticism as it is the best raw material for the production of plutonium and thermonuclear warheads," Anpilogov stressed.
The expert suggested that Russia could be of "enormous assistance" to India to deal with the challenge.
"We have a BN-800 reactor, which runs on MOX fuel. MOX fuel is a fuel based on uranium and plutonium oxides. That is, we are now disposing of this weapons-grade plutonium, which was accumulated by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, without throwing it away, not losing it in some way, but by burning it in the BN-800 reactor and generating electricity," he explained.

Rosatom's Engineering Lend it a Serious Advantage Over US and French Contractors

Anpilogov said that Rosatom’s construction conditions give it a decisive advantage over all American and French contractors involved in civil nuclear reactor construction globally.
"Rosatom supplies nuclear fuel to all the nuclear power plants constructed by it. It does not ask the operating company to look for uranium elsewhere. Moreover, it is responsible for removing the spent nuclear fuel for reprocessing. Essentially, a company that produces electricity only owns the reactors, and does not deal with the issues of where to get fuel, how to dispose of spent rods, or nuclear waste. All this is handled by Rosatom, which has the most cutting-edge facilities for these functions in Russia," he explained.
"It is the combination of all these factors which create the enormous advantage that Russia now has over the United States and Europe. Russia offers a comprehensive turnkey solution, plus one that also takes into account the specific requirements of India," concluded Anpilogov.
Kudankulam NPP - Sputnik India, 1920, 27.12.2023
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