Russia hopes to Construct Four More Nuclear Reactors in India

Oct 04, 2008

BBC Monitoring

Moscow: Russia hopes to sign a deal for construction of four more reactors at Koodankulam in Tamil Nadu before year-end, its nuclear energy chief has said. 

"We are working to sign an inter-governmental agreement (IGA) for four reactors during President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to India in December," Rosatom head Sergei Kiriyenko told journalists here on Friday [3 October].

Russia is currently building two light water VVER-1000 nuclear units with a combined capacity of 2000 MWe at Koodankulam. The reactors are to go operational next year.

A delegation of Atomstroyexport, responsible for the reactor construction, plans to visit India later this month for talks on the additional units, Leonid Reznikov, head of the company, said recently.

The Indo-Russian IGA was initialled in February, but the two sides were waiting for the lifting of international restrictions on nuclear trade with India to formally clinch the deal. The Nuclear Suppliers Group has since granted the waiver.

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin described the waiver as a "positive development" and sensible recognition of the realities on the ground.

 "India has long been a de facto nuclear power, and it has achieved the status by itself, without any assistance from outside - that's a fact of life," Mr Putin said in response to a question from N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu, during a Valdai Discussion Club meeting in Russia last month.

 "It was the right thing to do to put relations with India in the nuclear field on a legal basis," the Russian leader said.