India’s Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant is one of the safest in the world, can survive Fukushima like disaster
The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant has all post-Fukushima safety requirements in place, said Alexey Pimenov, chief executive of ROSATOM South Asia, the Russian partner for the state-run NPCIL in supplying reactors and running the plant. Pimenov told ET’s Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury that commercial agreements for units 5 and 6 of the plant will be concluded soon. Excerpts:
Can you provide any update on the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant project?
Unit 1 of the Kudankulam NPP was put into commercial operation in December 2014, and unit 2 in late March this year. Units 3 and 4 are under construction. The nominal capacity of units 1 and 2 is 2000 MW. Unit 1 produced over 13 million units of power by January 26 this year. It had been continuously in operation for 278 days and posted more than Rs 1,000-crore profit. The tariff on Kudankulam NPP power generation is one of the most competitive in India and the region. It is maintained at the level established by the Indian government in 2010-2011 without any escalation. The cost of power generation from Kudankulam NPP is Rs 4.10 per unit.
What is the current status of the agreement on units 5 and 6?
The negotiations are on for units 5 and 6. We intend to sign a general framework agreement and a credit protocol based on negotiation results in the near future.
How safe is Kudankulam NPP?
Kudankulam NPP is one of the safest in the world with all post-Fukushima safety requirements being implemented and functioning successfully. By the way, after the detailed analysis of the technical design of units 1 and 2, we came to a conclusion that they would have withstood a Fukushima-like accident. Active and passive safety systems ensure an unprecedented level of safety with the ability to prevent any anticipated operational occurrence. Among them are double localising and protecting containment, passive heat removal system from reactor plant, core catcher, and closed industrial water intake for NPP.
The NPP is also protected from natural and technological disasters, including earthquakes, tsunamis, tornados and even plane crash.
How many more nuclear units does ROSATOM plan to build in India?
The strategic vision adopted in December 2014 for strengthening cooperation in the peaceful use of atomic energy between Russia and India stipulates that at least 12 units of Russian design are to be commissioned in India within the next 20 years. As far as we know, the Indian government is actively searching for sites to build new power plants.
Have you decided on the technology for this new plant?
In 2015, India declared its intent to allot a new site for the construction of Russian-designed power plants with enhanced-capacity units. Russia is ready to offer ‘Generation 3 plus’ VVER-1200 reactors equipped with state-of-the-art safety systems. Recently this year we installed the world’s first ‘Generation 3 plus’ reactor at Novovoronezh NPP in Russia.