India and Russia sign deal for future units at nuclear power plant

News Excerpt:

India signed agreements with Russia for future Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project units in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

About Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant:

  • The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP), which will be one of the biggest nuclear power stations in India, is located 650km south of Chennai in the Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu. 
  • It is being developed by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) with technical assistance from Russia.
  • Construction of phase one started in 2001.
  • Two 1,000-megawatt (MW) pressurised water reactor (PWR) units based on Russian technology were constructed in phase one. 
    • An additional four units are under construction in the second and third phases of the project.
  • Upon commissioning its six units, by 2027, the power plant will have a combined capacity of 6,000MW.
  • It has a production life of 60 years, which can be extended by another 20 years.
  • Kudankulam nuclear plant uses imported PWR technology. 
    • It uses the advanced version of the Russian-developed PWR nuclear technology, VVER-1000 type reactors, also known as water-water power reactors.
    • India's existing nuclear power plants use pressurised heavy water reactors or boiling water reactor technology.

Kudankulam nuclear power plant construction and protests

  • Concrete work for units one and two started in 2002. 
  • NPCIL started commercial operations of unit one in 2014, while unit two was synchronised with the southern grid in 2016.
  • Construction works on-site were stopped due to protests by local residents and various activist groups over potential radiation threats and issues related to nuclear waste disposal in 2011. 
    • However, they resumed in 2012 with the permission of the Tamil Nadu Government.
  • In 2013, the Indian Supreme Court dismissed the petitions by nuclear activists questioning the safety of the nuclear power plant. It granted approval for the commissioning of the first two units.

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