Moscow: The general framework agreement for the third stage (units 5 and 6) of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu is expected to be signed by the end of December, its Russian makers said here.
The plant`s blocks 3 and 4 (the second stage) would be commissioned in 2022 and 2023, they said.
"So we are all working with Indian partners, NPCIL (Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd), and are approaching to sign the documents for the two new units (units 5 and 6) of the KNPP. We plan to sign documents in the nearest future. And by nearest I mean nearest," Nikolay Spassky, Deputy CEO for International Relations at Russian atomic energy corporation Rosatom, told IANS here.
As for efficiency, Spassky asserted KNPP is India`s best. "I have seen the official estimates (which show that) currently it is the most efficient power unit in India," he said.
Vladimir Angelov, Director for projects in India, ASE Group, the engineering division of Rosatom, expressed the hope that the agreements would be inked by the end of this year.
"First part of the job is negotiating the contract. I have just come back from Mumbai from these talks. We are rather optimistic that by the end of this year, the contracts for units 5 and 6 will be signed," Angelov told IANS.
Construction of KNPP with the assistance of Russia is the largest joint project between the two countries in the energy field.
The first two 1,000 MW units are currently operational at Kudankulam. Unit 1 was connected to the grid on October 22, 2013.
"Unit 1, which is in commercial operation, is in second fuel campaign already. The second fuel campaign is getting close to completion. The Indian operator has decided to extend the second cycle and that is why the unit currently operates at 85 per cent of its normal capacity," Angelov explained.
An inter-governmental agreement between India and Russia was signed in December 2008 for setting up Kudankulam`s units 3 to 6. The ground-breaking ceremony for construction of units 3 and 4 was performed earlier this year.
"We plan commissioning units 3 and 4 in 2022 and 2023. The gap between completing construction of unit 4 and beginning construction of units 5 and 6 will be a year- to year-and-half. Thus by 2025, we have very ambitious plans of completing these four units," Angelov noted, adding that the four units would be technologically superior to the first two.
And, to further the nuclear energy road map, Russia is awaiting India`s decision on a new site for six additional units.
"We are waiting for the proposals by the Indian side about a new site for six additional units of increased capacity. These will be generation three-plus Russian units," Angelov added.
(Sahana Ghosh was in Moscow at the invitation of Rosatom to cover the 11th International Public Forum-Dialogue "Nuclear Energy, Environment, Safety - 2016".