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4 more reactors for Koodankulam

Amit Baruah

India-Russia `memorandum of intent' for more units at new sites also


  • Cooperation in "peaceful uses" of atomic energy
  • India appreciates Russia's support for lifting global curbs



    BIG HAND TO TIES: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh exchanging documents after signing an agreement at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Thursday. Mr. Putin will be the chief guest at the 58th Republic Day celebrations on Friday. — PHOTO: R.V. MOORTHY

    NEW DELHI: India and Russia on Thursday signed a "memorandum of intent" to add four units to the nuclear power plant under construction at Koodankulam in Tamil Nadu and build an unspecified number of nuclear power reactors at new sites as well.

    The memorandum was one of the nine signed in the presence of the visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who held talks on a wide range of issues as part of their annual summit meeting at Hyderabad House here.

    In a joint statement on cooperation in "peaceful uses" of atomic energy, both countries committed themselves to further developing international cooperation to promote the use of nuclear energy.

    Noting their cooperation at Koodankulam, the statement said the countries would work together to expand civilian nuclear energy cooperation aimed at enabling India to realise its goals of promoting nuclear power and energy security in a self-sustaining manner.

    "With the objective to implement these intentions, an agreement between... India and the... Russian Federation will be signed on cooperation in the construction of four additional units at Koodankulam. [This understanding was reflected in Thursday's memorandum of intent]," the statement read.

    Russia, like France, has positioned itself to enter the Indian nuclear power sector in a big way by signing the memorandum of intent on four additional reactors for Koodankulam and for new sites as well.

    The expectation is that the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) will soon lift restrictions on nuclear commerce with India.

    IAEA safeguards

    "India undertakes that reactor facilities and nuclear fuel supplied by Russia shall remain under the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] safeguards during the entire period of their actual use in accordance with the agreement on safeguards, which shall be concluded between the Republic of India and the IAEA," the statement said.

    "Russia will continue to work with participating governments of NSG in order to create conditions through amendment to its guidelines to facilitate expansion of civilian nuclear energy cooperation with India."

    Further, the Department of Atomic Energy and the Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency would work out in 2007 a "comprehensive programme of cooperation" for the peaceful use of atomic energy, the statement said.

    The Prime Minister said at a joint press appearance with Mr. Putin that New Delhi appreciated Moscow's support for lifting international restrictions on nuclear cooperation with India and in "assisting us in the expansion of our nuclear energy sector."

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