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Russian Nuclear Expert Wants More
New Technology Cooperation with India

Jan. 17, 2010 (EIRNS)—The vice-president of the Russian Nuclear Center-Kurchatov Institute, called for Russia to orient its scientific and technological advances in the nuclear power sector toward cooperation with India, as well as other partner nations to which Russia is exporting nuclear power plants. EIR of Jan. 22 will publish an overview of the role these Russian exports are playing in the overall turn to nuclear power, throughout Asia. Academician Nikolai Ponomaryov-Stepnoy, made the statement upon his return from India early this year, according to a Jan. 15 report by Regnum.ru.

Referring to India, Academician Ponomaryov-Stepnoy said:

There is colossal potential there — colossal natural and human resources, but not enough power. It is therefore very important that they have very definitely decided on the development of nuclear energy, and especially that they are developing their nuclear power industry with our help and together with us. At least in the first stage, when you have to build on designs which have already been tried and proven in practice. ... India still is giving preference to Russian reactors. I think the explanation is simple: fortunately, it so happened that Russia began to experience the renaissance of nuclear power earlier than other countries. After all, we've already built facilities in India, in Kudankulam, and have shown what we can do. Therefore we need to continue to work at the highest level, drawing the very best forces into this work. After all, we're going to be building power plants which will function for 60 years. And they should work safely and perform well.

The Russian scientist emphasized that the nuclear industry cannot merely coast on existing technologies. He called for cooperation on fast breeder technology with a complete fuel cycle (such as Russia is now developing for export to China, under agreements reached in October 2009). He stated that:

India is thinking about the future. And we should think about the future, too. The reactors we build will need fuel for their entire service life, i.e., into the 2070s. Therefore we have to be thinking about new nuclear technologies, for which there will be a guaranteed fuel supply. In this sense, the program for new-generation nuclear energy technologies, which the government has not yet finally approved, needs to be oriented toward India inclusively, as well as toward all our partners. I mean fast breeder reactors, with a complete fuel cycle. I think we now need to be offering India cooperation in this area. In the course of that, we shall provide our partners not only with electric power, but also fuel for hydrogen or electric cars.

On Jan. 12, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of government officials on implementation of an already approved plan to upgrade the role of the famous Kurchatov Institute — which, among other things, is the flagship institution for Russian research on nuclear fusion power — within the Russian economy. Putin said that supplementary direct federal funding to the Kurchatov Institute is intended to enable it to "serve as a model for organising all national research centers," of which a network of five to seven new ones is planned. In addition to "the junction of nano, bio and information technology," Putin named nuclear power as a priority area of concentration.