Russia to supply energy for India, incl. 2 more nuclear reactors

Kudankulam nuke plant

Oct. 21, 2013

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh secured commitments Monday from Russia that New Delhi will hope could go some way to providing for the country’s surging energy needs.Singh and Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a joint statement after talks in Moscow that the two countries have agreed on a range of energy issues, spanning from cooperation in electricity production to possible joint oil and gas exploration in the Arctic Sea.

With demand for electricity set to double in India over the coming decade, New Delhi is actively seeking ways to plug the gap.

Singh and Putin said Monday that Russia and India would speed up the signing of a long-anticipated framework agreement to build the third and fourth reactors at the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in the southernmost tip of India.

Putin said the first reactor at the plant may even have been set to operate by Monday evening. “I think it could happen in the next few hours,” Putin said after talks with Singh.

Putin said the construction of as many as four more units at Kundankulam was under consideration. The Indian premier said Monday the second Kundankulam unit could be launched in early 2014.

India signed a contract with the Soviet Union to build the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in 1988. Construction started only in 1997 due to political and economic upheaval in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The project involves 1,000-megawatt pressurized water reactors being constructed by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited and Russia’s Atomstroyexport company, a subsidiary of Russian nuclear energy company Rosatom.

The construction of the first two units was halted in September 2011 amid protests by local residents demanding the scrapping of the Indo-Russian project in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. Protesters blocked all roads to the plant and would not allow the workers to enter.

Work resumed in March 2012 and the first unit at Kudankulam was commissioned on July 13.

According to Russian experts, negotiations on further construction at the Indian nuclear power plant have been hampered by New Delhi’s strict safety liability regulations that Moscow believes cannot be applied to Soviet-era technology.

The joint statement Monday also said Russia and India would review “the possibility of organizing direct overland transportation of energy supplies from Russia to India.”

It was unclear from the statement what methods of transportation are being proposed. India and Russia are separated by several countries, including Afghanistan and New Delhi’s avowed foe Pakistan.

Singh furthermore reaffirmed India’s interest in taking part in prospecting for energy resources in the Arctic Sea together with leading Russian companies, including the state-run Rosneft.

“We see Russia as a key partner for our energy security,” Singh said Monday.

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3 responses to “Russia to supply energy for India, incl. 2 more nuclear reactors

  1. India must be prepared as possible to offset potential Islamic aggression from Pakistan and Bangladesh. India is a nation who experienced extreme suffering at the hands of the Muslims for over 500 years. Consequently, any aid given to India by Russia is justifiable, especially when the US is not only giving aid to Pakistan but recently approved $1.6 billion in aid to the Pakistani Taliban. I wish that we would give India aid to clean up the Ganges River.

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  2. Good news. Better that India should be building nuclear power plants than coal plants.

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  3. A. James Gregor, Ph.D. & Professor

    These developments lend support to one of the constants of geopolitical “theorizing”–that Russia and China, in the long run, are destined to be opponents. Whatever the immediate accommodations between Moscow and Beijing, the enduring interests of both render them antagonists. Russia has an inescapable interest in maintaining stable control over the Russian Far East–territories that China has consistently held are Chinese–wrested from a weakened China through “unequal treaties.” Through the latter half of the twentieth, and into the twentyfirst, century, there has been a constant population movement of Chinese into the Russian Far East–in sufficient measure to replace Russians with Chinese as majorities in major metropolitan areas. They constitute a constant threat to Russian political control. So close to the surface has the hostility been that during the Mao period, there were armed conflicts between the Soviet and Chinese military along the Sino-Soviet Far Eastern border. India enters into the complex circumstances by presenting itself as a potential (and Important) possible Russian ally. India’s interest in protecting its freedom of navigation by opposing an assertive China’s increasing encroachments on the sealines of communication that traverse the South China Sea and the Indonesian chokepoints makes her a determined ally in any future conflict between Moscow and Beijing.. China’s naval pretensions–that would bring the combat vessels of the PLAN into the Indian Ocean—has prompted the Indians to draw closer to China’s opponents. Entering into agreements with Russia would serve the ultimate interest of both Moscow and New Delhi. In the process, should its foreign policy be sufficiently deft, the United States might well benefit in significant fashion.

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