Russia has offered to supply floating nuclear plants to India as a way of bypassing international restrictions on nuclear technology transfers.
The NSG restrictions will not be broken as Russia plans to build a floating nuclear power plant and trawl it to India’s shores. The plant will be operated by Russian personnel and India will only buy electricity.One 70-MW floating unit can generate enough electricity and thermal energy to support a town of 50,000 people or provide enough fresh water for one million people. Mounted on a barge it can be towed to any point along India’s coastline and operate for four years without reloading nuclear fuel. However, the cost of electricity produced by the $150-million floating plant will be twice as high as for onland reactors. Russia is planning to construct a full-fledged floating nuclear plant by the year 2008 to supply power to the country’s remote northern areas.
Russia is now constructing two nuclear reactors at Koodankulam in Tamil Nadu under an accord signed before the NSG clamped down its restrictions in 1992. Being a member of the NSG, Russia cannot have any new nuclear deals with India, but floating reactors are different.