Russia continues work on Kudankulam nuclear plant, training Indian pilots for manned spaceflight
Atommash, part of the mechanical engineering division of the Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation, announced on Tuesday it had begun manufacturing a set of steam generators for the fifth power unit of the Kudankulam plant.Updated: Aug 11, 2020 21:38 IST
Russia has continued work on key bilateral projects with India amid disruptions caused by the Covid-19 crisis, delivering important components for the Kudankulam nuclear power plant and training Indian pilots for the Gaganyaan manned space mission.
Atommash, part of the mechanical engineering division of the Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation, announced on Tuesday it had begun manufacturing a set of steam generators for the fifth power unit of the Kudankulam plant.
So far, Atommash has manufactured and shipped two sets of steam generators for the third and fourth units of the Kudankulam plant. Each reactor requires four generators, which are built to high safety standards and have a heat exchange surface with 11,000 stainless pipes.
Russia is building the 6,000-MW project at the site in Tamil Nadu, which will have six VVER-1000 nuclear reactors, and it is in talks with India to construct six more at a new site that is yet to be identified. Two reactors at Kudankulam are currently operational and two more are being built. India signed a framework agreement with Rosatom for constructing the fifth and sixth units in 2017.
Rosatom said Indian contractor Larsen & Toubro, with the technical support of Russian experts, had completed installing the dry shielding for the reactor pressure vessel of the third unit according to schedule. This shielding prevents overheating of the reinforced concrete reactor pit structure, it added.
Earlier this month, the mechanical engineering division of Rosatom began shipping crucial components for the main coolant pipeline for the fourth unit at Kudankulam. This equipment, weighing almost 350 tonnes, will be transported from Petrozavodsk to St Petersburg port, from where it will be carried by a ship about 10,000 km to Kudankulam.
“We have completed the supply of equipment for the four units of the nuclear power plant in India. This year, [shipment] dates were postponed due to restrictions caused by the epidemiological situation. Despite this difficult situation, the [products were] successfully shipped and all contractual obligations to the customer were fulfilled,” said senior Rosatom official Rovshan Abbasov.
“In the context of the restrictions imposed in Russia and India, Rosatom State Corporation Engineering Division, the Indian customer, Russian manufacturers, [and] the port of St Petersburg have kept on working, meeting all the measures prescribed, on the construction of the second phase of Kudankulam nuclear power plant,” said Vladimir Angelov, the director of projects in India.
Meanwhile, the four Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots being trained at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) are scheduled to complete their training in the first quarter of 2021, Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, announced recently. The contract for their training was signed in June 2019 and they began the course on February 10.
The training includes a number of courses on medical and physical issues, learning Russian, and studying the configuration and systems of the Soyuz manned spacecraft. The health status of the pilots is monitored daily, and professional GCTC doctors conduct a thorough medical examination once every three months.
So far, the Indian pilots have completed training for a possible abnormal descent module landing in wooded and marshy areas during winter, on the water surface, and in the steppes in summer. In June, the pilots passed training in short-term weightlessness aboard an Il-76MDK special laboratory aircraft.
They will also be trained in a hyperbaric chamber to prepare for factors such as G-force, hypoxia and pressure drop during a spaceflight. “The GCTC instructors praise the effort and high motivation of the Indian cosmonauts,” Roscosmos said.
Earlier this year, the Indian pilots had gone into self-isolation purely as a precautionary measure following the detection of Covid-19 cases within the Russian space agency.