India’s Kudankulam NPP moves ahead but other import plans in limbo

22 December 2016

Rusatom Automated Control Systems (Rasu), a subsidiary of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, will be the main designer and supplier of the instrumentation and control systems (I&C) package for units 3 and 4 of India’s Kudankulam NPP, Rosatom said on 16 December. In November 2016, general contractor Atomstroyexport (part of Rosatom) signed a contract with Rasu to deliver the I&C equipment, a statement said. In April 2014, Russia and India signed a general framework agreement for the construction of Kudankulam 3 and 4, the second phase of the Kudankulam NPP in Tamil Nadu state.  In November 2016, Rosatom said its subsidiary, Atomenergomash, began production of major components for the project.

Kudankulam 1 began commercial operation in December 2014 and Kudankulam 2 is scheduled to begin commercial operation in February 2017 (both VVER-1000 reactors). Units 3 and 4 are expected to be commissioned by 2022­23. India and Russia are expected to sign the General Framework Agreement (GFA) on Kudankulam units 5 and 6 shortly.  After all the units (1­6) of the plant are commissioned, the nuclear park will have the power generating capacity of 6,000MWe.

Earlier in December, Swapnesh Malhotra of India’s Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), said the proportion of local components in the next two nuclear reactor units to be built by Russia at the Kudankulam site could increase to between 50% and 60%, according to a statement on Rosatom’s website. Malhotra said this could result in a reduction in capital costs of around 20% for Kudankulam 3 and 4. The “local content” in Kudunkulam 1 and 2 is around 10%, he noted. He said he hoped that large nuclear equipment for vendors such as Rosatom will be manufactured in India and also supplied to third countries. This would “greatly reduce nuclear construction costs worldwide and facilitate the development of the nuclear industry”. 

Meanwhile, India has said that before signing any new agreements on nuclear plants they would need to see an operational (reference) plant. India's request for reference plants is significant as it has already cancelled a proposal made by GE Hitachi to build its economic simplified boiling water reactor (ESBWR) units in Kovvada because as yet no such plant is operational. The Kovvada project has now been given Westinghouse Electric, which is building four of its AP1000 reactors each in the US and China.  Electricite de France, which is hoping to build its EPR reactors at Jaitapur in Maharashtra province, has EPR projects in France, UK and China. However, neither of the companies has any operational units yet which could serve as reference plants.  DAE’s Shekhar Basu has made it clear that reference plants for the AP1000 and EPR must be available before the companies start construction. 



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