India and Russia strengthen nuclear cooperation

14 February 2024

An extension to the 2008 intergovernmental agreement between India and Russia on the construction of stages II and III of the Kudankulam NPP in the southern state of Tamil Nadu was signed recently during a two-day visit to India by Rosatom Director General Alexei Likhachev.

Rosatom said the protocol was an "important document" finalised in the wake of negotiations between Likhachev and Ajit Kumar Mohanty, Chairman of India's Atomic Energy Commission and Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) Secretary following a tour of the plant. DAE said Likhachev and Mohanty had reviewed the progress of construction at units 3-6 of the NPP and had discussed ways to speed up the work. They were satisfied with the operating performance of units 1&2. Strengthening of ties in other areas of civil nuclear cooperation was also discussed.

Following the talks Likhachev said: "India is our strategic partner. Russian-Indian cooperation in the nuclear field has deep roots; the first intergovernmental documents on Indian nuclear power plants of Russian design were signed back in the 1980s. At the end of last year, we celebrated a wonderful joint anniversary – 10 years since the first power unit of the Kudankulam NPP was connected to the power grid of the Republic of India. We continue to work on joint projects in various areas in the use of nuclear energy and are optimistic about the further expansion of cooperation."

Kudankulam NPP, being constructed with Russian assistance, will comprise six units with VVER-1000 reactors. Work began following an intergovernmental agreement between India and Russia signed in 1988 and another in 2008. Units 1&2 (Phase I) are already in operation and work is underway to build units 3-6 (Phases II and III). Units 1&2 began operation in 2016. The general framework agreement with Rosatom on construction units 3&4 was signed in 2014 and, in 2017, the engineering division of Rosatom and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) signed an agreement on the construction units 5&6. Work on units 5&6 began in 2021 and the NPP is expected to be operating at full capacity by 2027. The roadmap for nuclear cooperation between Russia and India provides for the construction of a total 12 units in India, including 4-8 at Kudankulam.

Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, during a five-day visit to Russia in December 2023, signed agreements with Russia for additional units of the Kudankulam plant. The agreement was signed following a meeting with Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Head of the Ministry of Industry & Trade, Denis Manturov. In addition to the construction of nuclear power units, Rosatom also ensures the supply of reliable and efficient nuclear fuel to India for VVER-1000, while increasing the efficiency of these reactors by introducing extended fuel cycles.

Rosatom said technical solutions implemented at Kudankulam include evolutionary development of NPPs with VVER reactors increasing safety and reliability. The Kudankulam NPP was the first to use a specially designed unified system for cooling the condensers of four units using hydraulic structures fed by a single large-scale artificial water area. The reactor plant equipment was installed at units 3&4 for the first time at a fully developed and equipped site using open top technology.

Image courtesy of India's Department of Atomic Energy

Privacy Policy
We have updated our privacy policy. In the latest update it explains what cookies are and how we use them on our site. To learn more about cookies and their benefits, please view our privacy policy. Please be aware that parts of this site will not function correctly if you disable cookies. By continuing to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy unless you have disabled them.