30 June 2017

First Construction Start in the World in 2017: Kudankulam‑3 in India

First Construction Start Worldwide in 2017: Kudankulam-3 in India

World Nuclear Industry Status Report (WNISR), 30 June 2017

On 29 June 2017, the Russian consortium Rosatom announced the official construction start with the concreting of the base slab for the Kudankulam-3 reactor building in India. The construction of the VVER1000 is scheduled to be completed in just over six years (73 months), according to media reports. An agreement on the extension of a Russian state loan for the investment was signed as early as July 2012. The Kudankulam site is to house six nuclear reactors eventually, of a total of “at least” twelve units of Russian design planned in India.

When work started in July 2002 on Kudankulam-2, it was also scheduled to start up six years later, in December 2008. In reality, it took over 14 years until it was connected to the grid in August 2016. Kudankulam-1 took 11.5 years to start generating power in 2013, 25 years after the signing of a Russia-India bilateral agreement to build a nuclear plant at Kudankulam, and against strong local opposition.

On 19 June 2017, the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) had granted building permission for units 3 and 4. Poovulagin Nanbaragal, a Chennai-based environmentalist group that opposes the Kudankulam nuclear plant, has termed the AERB permission “illegal in many terms”. Poovulagin Nanbaragal is pointing out in particular that the population density in the vicinity of the planned units 3-6, with over 28,000 people living within a 5-km radius of the site, is much higher than the preferred maximum stipulated in AERB code.