On Wednesday, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister Jayalalithaa dedicated the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant to the nation after 28 long years.
Originally the plan was signed by the then Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi and President of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev in the year 1988. It marked the beginning of development of nuclear power in India. But the agreement soon came to a halt when the Soviet Union dissolved in the year 1991 and it was revived only after a decade later in the year 2000, under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. The project has faced a lot of opposition and protest over the years on issues ranging from it being a deterrent to the ecological balance of its surroundings to the river dispute that it faced. Many pressure groups have also questioned the safety of the plant and whether appropriate precautions are being taken or not. But facing all of that, the power plant has finally succeeded.
First unit of the power plant has a capacity of 1000 megawatts, Tamil Nadu has a share of 465mw in the total power generation. There will be five more units which will be set up in the future which have the capacity of 1000mw each. In the year 2015, the International Atomic Energy Agency had stated that nuclear energy has only a 4% contribution in the power generation in the country. Kudankulam project is the first major step towards the use of nuclear power in India as it is the highest power generating nuclear plant in India.
Not only is the project a landmark in the energy development program of India, it is also symbolic of the relation between the two countries, India and Russia. The latter has been a huge support to India on countless occasions. Many joint ventures from power projects to defense projects like missile programmes. The two countries have been in close relations ever since Russia was the Soviet Union and during the Cold War when India was friendless in an ever growing hostile world. India and Russia have very deep ties that goes back decades and the relationship is treasured by both countries.
Indeed the completion of the project is one of the major developments that has been done in the tenure of the Narendra Modi government. But this is a historical moment for India and we shouldn’t look at it in a political way and accept this development as a nation just like the two leaders said, “The Kudankulam Nuclear Plant is for the nation.”