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Russia to help India build 12 nuclear reactors

In an effort to take their energy ties to the next level, India and Russia today agreed to build 12 new nuclear reactors over a span of 20 years even as Russia is planning to supply as many as 25 nuclear units to meet India’s rising energy needs.

“I am pleased that the first unit of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant is on stream. It has added 20 per cent to the existing capacity for nuclear power in India. We are on course for installing the next three units of 1000 MW each. Today, we have outlined an ambitious vision for nuclear energy of at least ten more reactors. It will have the highest standards of safety in the world,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said here today after his bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin under the 15th India-Russia Annual Summit.

Modi also reiterated that this will entail manufacture of equipment and components in India in line with the government’s ‘Make in India’ policy.

“The second unit will be constructed soon. We have signed a deal to construct more than 20 nuclear plants to produce nuclear fuel,” Putin said adding that talks on the ongoing civil nuclear cooperation remained one of the most important aspects of the bilateral talks.

Out of the 12 new units that will be built by 2035, two will be constructed at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNP), the construction for which will start by 2016, as per the general framework agreement signed here today on construction and equipment delivery by Russian nuclear energy giant Rosatom, diplomatic sources told Business Standard.

Chairman of ESSAR Shashi Ruia and President ROSNEFT, Igor Sechin exchange documents after signing an agreement at Hyderabad House in New Delhi

The location for other nuclear reactors is yet to be decided, officials said.

The Unit I of KKNPP became operational in July 2013, though it gained complete generation capacity by October 22, 2013. The second unit is yet to be operational although the construction is complete. It is expected to go onstream by 2015.

The plan to add two new nuclear blocks at the KKNP, which is located in southern Tamil Nadu, was signed in April this year.

To boost energy ties, India and Russia today also signed a deal to import 10 million tonnes per annum of oil under a 10-year contract signed between Essar Oil and Russian crude oil producer Rosneft.

The deal, which could be extended beyond 10 years, was signed between Essar Group chairman Shashi Ruia and Rosneft chief Igor Ivanovich Sechin.

This was one of the 20 agreements that were signed between India and Russia today.

In the field of defence, both governments left no stone unturned to reaffirm their traditional partnership. Russia contributes about 70 per cent of India’s total military hardware.

“Russia has been India’s foremost defence partner through decades. Even as India’s options have increased today, Russia will remain our most important defence partner,” Modi highlighted.

He said Russia has agreed to fully manufacture one of its most advanced helicopters in India that can be used for military as well as civilian use. There are even plans to export these helicopters from India.

Russia had earlier expressed concerns on India’s increasing defence purchases from Israel and the US. Similarly, Indian government was unhappy that Russia entered a far-reaching defense agreement with Pakistan under which it has started supplying Mi-35 helicopters to combat terrorism.

Putin, who was on a 24-hour visit here, is planning to make India a major buyer of its crude oil and nuclear fuel in the wake of the severe trade sanctions imposed on Kremlin by US and European Union.

Russia is also planning to ramp up its merchandise trade with India, which presently stands at $ 10 billion. Both governments have plans to double it up by 2015.

“The bilateral trade of $ 10 billion is not enough. We have decided to stimulate our companies to cooperate more closely in increasing trade and investment,” Putin said.

The Russian President also added that talks to have a free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union, comprising Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, will be launched soon.

DRUZHBA-DOSTI

* Russia’s Rosatom to build 12 new nuclear reactors in India

* Two of these new reactors will be set up at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, while the location for the rest is yet to be decided.

* Essar Oil and Rosneft signed a 10-year contract under which India will import 10mtpa oil. Contract can be extended beyond 10 years

* Rosneft and ONGC Videsh to complete talks on exploration of new oil and gas fields

* Proposal to build a hydrocarbon pipeline connecting India and Russia also discussed

* Russia to manufacture its advanced helicopters here; Plans to also export those from here

* Russia to significantly increase its diamond export to India

* India, Russia vowed to achieved bilateral trade worth $ 20 billion by 2015

* Proposal to establish free trade agreement with Eurasian Union also discussed
 

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