Cost increase of Kudankulam project being ascertained

November 19th, 2011 - 7:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Nov 19 (IANS) India’s atomic power plant operator Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) is working out the cost escalation owing to delay in commissioning of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) due to a people’s protest.

“The sanctioned cost of the KNPP 1 and 2 is Rs.13,171 crore including interest during construction. About half of the cost is financed by the credit facility extended from the Russian Federation,” said the central government-appointed experts panel in its presentation.

“According to the agreement, the credit is to be utilised during the construction of the plant and is to be repaid in 14 annual installments, after commissioning of the plant,” it added.

“The setback in project completion schedule has resulted in revision of the cost estimates, mainly due to increase in the interest on borrowings, establishment cost and escalation on the cost of balance works. The revision of cost estimates is in process,” the report stated.

NPCIL is building two 1,000 MW power reactors at Kudankulam with Russian technology and equipments around 650 km from here. The work came to a standstill after villagers demanded scrapping of the project, fearing for their lives in case of a nuclear accident.

In order to allay the fears of the public, the central and the state governments formed two committees which met at Tirunelveli Friday.

The central panel had prepared a presentation covering various aspects of the project for the benefit of the state panel. Copies of the presentation were distributed to the media Saturday.

The first meeting took place Nov 8.

Certifying the reactors as safe, the experts panel said the fuel for the first two reactors is procured according to the contract signed between Russian Federation and Government of India.

The finished fuel assemblies are packed in specially-designed casks and transported by special aircraft from Russia to India. From the airport to the KNPP, the transportation is done by road.

On the dummy fuel, the expert panel said, it is made of lead encapsulated in steel tubes and has no radioactive material. It will be preserved and reused in subsequent new reactors during commissioning test.

Clarifying that spent fuel is not a waste but an asset, the panel said valuable fissile materials like uranium and plutonium are recovered at a reprocessing facility for reuse.

“At Kudankulam, spent fuel from the reactors will be carefully stored in storage pools which are always filled with pure, demineralised, borated water which is constantly recirculated.”

Ruling out any fuel reprocessing facility at Kudankulam, the panel said the storage of spent fuel there is only an interim measure.

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