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Kudankulam n-plant sign of deep, strategic Indo-Russian friendship: Modi 

Chennai, Aug 10 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the commissioning of the first 1,000 MW unit in Kudankulam is a mark of another strategic partnership between India and Russia.

Speaking on the occasion of dedicating the first 1,000 MW unit built with Russian equipment, Modi said it is only the start of the collaboration in the nuclear field between the two nations.

Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa jointly dedicated to the nation, the 1,000 MW unit of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP).

The dedication of unit happened via video conferencing with Modi in New Delhi, Putin in Moscow and Jayalalithaa in Chennai.

The KNPP is located in Tirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu, around 650 km from here.

Modi said five more 1,000 MW units would come up at Kudankulam, built with Russian technology and added that India will build a series of nuclear power plants.

Modi said he has a vision for India achieving economic development respectful of Mother Earth.

He said the Kudankulam nuclear power plant is part of India’s plan to scale up its green energy.

Modi said the success of the project demonstrates the common resolve to grow the Indo-Russian relationship in new dimensions.

Appreciating Putin for his focus and strong leadership, Modi added that Indian people will associate with the people of Russia with ease.

Wishing `Long Live Indo-Russian Friendship’ Modi told Putin that he is looking forward to meet him at the ensuing G-20 meeting in China.

Modi also thanked Jayalalithaa for her participation in the event.

In his address, Putin said the cooperation in the field of nuclear power is important part of the strategic partnership between India and Russia.

Putin said Russia is one of the world leaders in the field of nuclear technology and the atomic power plants built by his country are reliable.

According to him, construction of the next two units at Kudankulam would begin in February 2017 and the General Framework Agreement for two more units is expected to be signed between the two nations by the end of this year.

In her address Jayalalithaa said: “The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant is a monument commemorating the long-standing, abiding and deep friendship between Russia and India.”

According to her, the successful commissioning of the Kudankulam project is an object lesson on how the fears and apprehensions of the local population can and should be allayed, through a process of engagement and reassurance, and by building community assets and infrastructure.

Requesting early commissioning of the second 1,000 MW unit at KNPP, Jayalalithaa expressed confidence that the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) will maintain the highest safety standards and also ensure continuous power generation at the two units so that Tamil Nadu and the neighbouring states can rely on Kudankulam as a reliable base load power station.

The formal dedication of the first unit to the nation comes over one-and-half years after the unit started commercial production.

India’s atomic power plant operator NPCIL has built two similar 1,000 MW nuclear power plants at Kudankulam with Russian equipments.

The first unit attained criticality, which is the beginning of the fission process, in July 2013.

Subsequently it was connected to the southern grid in October 2013. However, commercial power generation began only on December 31, 2014.

However the unit experienced regular breakdowns after that and finally got stabilised some months ago to generate at an average around 940 MW power daily.

Anti-nuclear activists say that the first unit at KNPP had broken down over 30 times.

It was the first pressurised water reactor of India.

Meanwhile the second unit went critical or started nuclear fission on July 10. The commercial power generation is expected to start four to six months after attaining criticality.

Once the second unit at Kudankulam starts power generation to its full capacity, the total atomic power capacity in Tamil Nadu would go up to 2,440 MW.

Already, the NPCIL has two 220 MW units at Kalkpakkam near here under its Madras Atomic Power Station.

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