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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia to build four more nuclear reactors in India

RIA Novosti

25/01/2007 14:58

NEW DELHI, January 25 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has agreed to build four more nuclear reactors for India's Kudankulam nuclear power plant and other plants in addition to the two units already under construction, a bilateral agreement said Thursday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, currently on a two-day visit to India, reached the agreement with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh following bilateral talks.

Russia is currently building the first and second power units for the Kudankulam nuclear power plant (NPP) in southern India under the NPP-92 project.

The project, which was developed by Russian nuclear scientists and leading nuclear energy enterprises, stipulates the construction of third generation water-cooled reactors with capacity of 1,000 MW each and upgraded security systems.

Water-cooled power reactors are the most popular type of reactors used across the world. Some 250 water-cooled reactors operate in various countries, including 49 made in Russia.

The NPP-92 project's main advantage lies in its use of advanced equipment, involving several consecutive protection barriers combined with passive and active security systems.

The reactors also incorporate specialized equipment to track, cool and localize core meltdowns beneath the reactor shell, and have a protection system against earthquakes, hurricanes, and crashed planes.

Two power units at Kudankulam have already withstood a tsunami thanks to specially designed wave barriers.

Russia and India will be able to start implementing the new agreement only after the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group, which controls nuclear exports and where Russia is a member, lifts its restrictions on India.

India, a confirmed nuclear power, has never been party to the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and has been under U.S., Japanese and European sanctions since 1998 when it first tested nuclear weapons but the sanctions do not cover the agreement to build the first two reactors of Kudankulam because it was reached before the ban.

However, President George Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reached an agreement in March 2006 to allow the sale of U.S. nuclear power technology to India, a deal that was approved by Congress in December.

The bilateral agreement to build the four additional reactors for Kudankulam also contained New Delhi's obligation to keep Russia's nuclear reactors and nuclear fuel under the guarantees of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog, during their entire operational life. India has still to conclude an agreement on the guarantees with the agency.

Putin and Singh also adopted a joint statement saying that the two countries would develop a program for civilian nuclear cooperation in 2007.

"The Federal Agency for Nuclear Power and India's Department of Atomic Energy will draft a comprehensive program for cooperation between Russia and India in civilian use of nuclear power in 2007," the statement said.

The document also said that Moscow and New Delhi "proceed from the common goal of ensuring the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them, considering the danger of their use for terrorist purposes."

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