Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin laid the foundation of units 3 and 4 of the Kudankulam NPP, which is being built with Russian assistance, on 14 October through video-conferencing. Earlier in the day, both leaders held delegation-level talks on the sidelines of the 8th BRICS summit in Goa. Units 1 and 2 of the Kudankulam plant became operationalised earlier this year and some preparatory work had begun on the third and fourth units before the summit. Modi and Putin had also reportedly agreed a “General Framework Agreement” on Kudankulam plant’s unit 3 and unit 4 and had also negotiated a “credit protocol for Kudankulam 5 and 6.
Kudankulam unit 2, which was connected to the southern grid earlier in October, is scheduled to begin commercial operation in December. Construction was completed in July 2015 and fuel was loaded in May. Following safety tests, it attained criticality on 10 July. Kudankulam 1 achieved first criticality in mid-2013, was connected to the grid in October 2013 and began commercial operation in December 2014. Both units are operated by Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) under IAEA safeguards, with supervision from Russian specialists. Enriched uranium fuel for the entire life of the plant is to be supplied by Russia.
The construction of the Kudankulam NPP was initially agreed by the Soviet Union and India back in 1988, but the project was in frozen for some time. NPCIL and Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom relaunched a much-delayed joint project to build the Kudankulam NPP in 2012.
In an interview with Russia’s Sputnik and India’s IANS news agency, Putin said: "We are now working on the localisation of component manufacturing in India. We began assessing the construction of NPPs at other sites in India. Technological cooperation in the field of uranium enrichment is being established."
He added that the energy sector plays an important role in trade and economic cooperation between Russia and India. “Construction of the Kudankulam NPP is the largest long-term project. In August 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and I took part in a ceremony dedicated to the handover of the first unit of the Kudankulam NPP to the Republic of India. The second unit will be put into operation in the near future," he said, noting that the two units alone will significantly increase the energy supply in India and strengthen its energy security. On construction of the third and fourth units, he said: "Work is being carried out according to the agreed schedule. The project is being implemented with funding from the Russian Federation: the government loan stands at $3.4bn, or 85% of the total value of contracts concluded with the Russian organisations."
Rosatom subsidiary United Corporation for Innovation (UCI) and the Indian Agricultural Association on 13 October, on the sidelines of BRICS, signed an agreement on the development of "a network of integrated infrastructure centres" for radiation treatment in India. Rosatom said in the project "contemplates the stepwise establishment and development" of the network which is to be managed by a Russian-Indian joint venture”.
UCI CEO Denis Cherednichenko said: "Radiation treatment of food products is one of various applications of state-of-the-art radiation technologies offered by Rosatom to its foreign partners. He noted that 22 countries are using about 515 radiation plants based on Russian technologies. The first stage of cooperation will include construction and commissioning of seven radiation treatment centres in India. United Innovation Corporation was created as a Rosatom subsidiary in 2011. Its areas of expertise include nuclear medicine, multifunctional centres for radiation treatment and environmental protection.