The St Petersburg Times
By Irina Titova
St. Petersburg's Izhorskiye Zavody on Thursday shipped a new nuclear reactor body that will be the first power unit of India's Kudankulam nuclear power plant to the city's sea port.
Izhorskiye Zavody, which are part of United Machinery Plants (OMZ) holding, signed a contract with India for the construction of two nuclear reactor bodies for Kudankulam's station in 2002.
"We were so sure of our partners that we started to produce the first reactor bodies four months before the official contract was signed," said Yevgeny Sergeyev, general director of Izhorskiye Zavody, said at a ceremony sending off the reactor.
Sergeyev said the reactor was completed six months before deadline.
The Kudankulam nuclear power plant, which is under construction in the state of Tamilnadu, will supply electricity to four southern Indian states. Russian and Indian specialists are building the plant.
Construction started in 2002 under an agreement signed by the Soviet government and India in 1988. The first reactor is to start producing in 2007, the second in 2008. The contract includes the shipment of 21,000 tons of equipment for the station for almost $300 million.
The second reactor body is to be finished next year.
Apart from OMZ, several other Russian enterprises are making equipment for the Kundankulam plant. The city's Electrosila plant of the Power Machines Company (PMC) is completing comprehensive tests on a 1,000 megawatt turbo generator for the station.
The water-cooled reactor is one of the most modern reactors in Russia and has a good reputation in Russia and abroad, Izhorskiye Zavody's press service said.
However, Vladimir Chuprov, coordinator of Greenpeace's energy campaign in Moscow, said such reactors are not completely safe. Similar reactors installed at the Bolokovo Nuclear Power Station in the Saratov region recently had a number of problems, he said.
Chuprov said European countries and the United States have not been building any new nuclear power stations although Finland is considering constructing one.
Many countries do not build new nuclear stations because they do not find them economically profitable and worry that they don't have space to bury nuclear waste, he added.
"The countries that are interested in new nuclear power stations are Brazil, India and China," Chuprov said.
In 2001 and 2002 Izhorskiye Zavody shipped similar reactors for Chinese nuclear power station Tyanvan, he added.
Russia should pay more attention to developing alternative energy production because it is much safer, can be more economically profitable, and because the Earth will run out of uranium in less than 100 years, Chuprov said.
It is not possible to use spent nuclear fuel from nuclear power stations for nuclear weapons unless it is refined at a special plant, but spent nuclear fuel can be used for harmful actions, he added.
News source: times.spb.ru
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