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Russia & India explore new frontiers in nuclear collaboration

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MOSCOW: Top officials from Russian and Indian nuclear agencies met to discuss expanding their cooperation beyond power generation, RT reported.

The meeting took place during a site visit in Seversk, Tomsk Region, where Aleksey Likhachev, Director-General of Rosatom, and Ajit Kumar Mohanty, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India, held comprehensive talks.

The discussions focused on broadening the scope of their nuclear partnership, with Rosatom presenting its Pilot Demonstration Energy Complex to the Indian delegation. This complex is a pivotal element of the ‘Proryv’ (Breakthrough) project, which aims to develop a new technological platform for a closed nuclear fuel cycle. The project addresses significant challenges related to spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste management.

Rosatom emphasised the strategic goal of creating competitive products that will reinforce the leadership of Russian technologies in the global nuclear power industry. “We are ready for serious expansion of the cooperation with India in the field of using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes,” Likhachev stated.

He highlighted plans for constructing high-capacity, Russian-designed nuclear power units at a new site in India, which New Delhi has yet to disclose publicly. Additionally, the cooperation may extend to land-based and floating low-power generation projects.

Discussions also encompassed the nuclear fuel cycle and non-power applications of nuclear technologies. The meeting underscored the ongoing progress at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu, southern India.

KNPP, India’s largest nuclear power plant, comprises six power units equipped with light-water reactors, each with a capacity of 1,000 MW. The first two units, connected to the national grid in 2013 and 2016 respectively, currently supply power to the southern region. The remaining four units are at various stages of construction and equipment fitting.

In December, during a visit by Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar to Moscow, agreements were signed to advance the implementation of the fifth and sixth reactors for the Kudankulam project. Jaishankar recently noted at a press conference in Mumbai that India is considering “additional sites for Russian reactors.”

Likhachev highlighted Russia’s extensive sharing of the latest technological advancements in the nuclear field with India. Both nations are also collaborating on projects in third countries, notably the construction of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant in Bangladesh.

This plant, located approximately 140 km west of Dhaka, represents Bangladesh’s most significant infrastructure project to date and is a crucial component of its strategy to transition away from coal and other fossil fuels. Moscow and Dhaka have signed intergovernmental credit agreements worth about $12 billion to finance the project.

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