Pacts for Kudankulam III and IV almost ready: Russian envoy

March 26th, 2012 - 4:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, March 26 (IANS) Ahead of President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to India, Russian Ambassador Alexander M. Kadakain said the agreements for the units III and IV of the Kudankulam nuclear plant were “almost ready”. Moscow, he underlined, was hoping that the nuclear liability law won’t apply to them.

Medvedev will touch down here Wednesday morning on a two-day visit during which he will participate in the BRICS summit of the five emerging economies, including Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, and hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The civil nuclear cooperation is expected to figure prominently in bilateral talks.

The Russian envoy welcomed the resumption of work at the Russia-built Kudankulam nuclear plant and said the stalling of the work at the plant due to agitations spearheaded by NGOs in Tamil Nadu had cost around $1 million to India every day over the last six months.

The total loss to India worked out to around $180 million, he added.

“It’s long overdue. From October to March, it was India which was losing $1 million every day. The plant was lying idle but the work has now resumed. That’s a welcome step,” he said.

It could take another four to six months for the plant to start production, said the envoy.

After nearly six months, work at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) resumed with around 950 technical and non-technical personnel and 100 Russian technocrats after the Tamil Nadu cabinet resolution on early commissioning of the plant.

India’s atomic power plant operator, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL), is building two 1,000 MW reactors at Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district, around 650 km from Chennai.

The Russian envoy also struck an upbeat note on the trajectory of nuclear cooperation between India and Russia.

“The agreements are almost ready and almost initialled. Some minor matters remain to be negotiated,” the Russian envoy said while referring to Moscow’s plan to go ahead with building units III and IV at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu.

The envoy also stressed that Russia hoped that India’s civil nuclear liability will not apply to these new units as they were part of earlier agreements which predated the liability regime.

“We hope the same terms will apply to units III and IV. Nuclear liability is a latter invention,” he said.

Besides Kudankulam, the envoy said, Russia was expecting India to formally propose another site to it after the proposal for locating a nuclear facility in Haripur in West Bengal was opposed by the Trinamool Congress. The new site for Russia is expected to be announced after Manmohan Singh’s talks with Medvedev Wednesday.

“We are in complete agreement with India to go ahead with the serial production of nuclear plants in India,” he said while referring to the nuclear roadmap sealed by the two countries in 2010.

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