Kudankulam N-plant opening in weeks: PM

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Friday, assured of operationalising the first reactor of Kudankulam nuclear plant in couple of weeks.

Last Updated: Dec 17, 2011, 10:42 AM IST

Moscow: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday
cleared the uncertainty over the start of Kudankulam nuclear
project declaring that the first unit will be operationalised
in a couple of weeks but India and Russia did not sign any
agreement for the third and fourth units of the plant.

After his talks with Russsian President Dmitry Medvedev
at the Kremlin, he said at a joint press interaction that the
second unit of the plant will be operationsalised six months
after that.
However, the two countries chose not to sign agreements
for the third and fourth unit of the Russian-aided project in
Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu where there has been an agitation on
the issue of safety.

But the two countries today finalised the terms of
reference for the Line of Credit for the third and fourth
units.

Before the meeting, Russian officials were confident that
the signing of agreements on third and fourth units would be
done today.

Earlier, quoting Medvedev`s foreign affairs aide Sergei
Prikhodko, local agencies had said the agreements on
construction of two more units at KNPP will be signed after
the Kremlin talks.

Chief of Russian State Nuclear Cooperation `Rosatom`
Sergey Kiriyenko told reporters that the agreement for the
construction of the third and fourth units were not signed.

Responding to the question when the Indian side would be
ready to sign them, Kiriyenko said: "I don`t know".

"Both India and Russia are very clear that there is
nothing to worry about the safety of the Kudankulam nuclear
project," Singh said in reply to questions.

Singh noted that there is a problem of agitation arising
out of safety issues.

"We are confident we will overcome the problem. We are
sure that the concerns will be adequately taken care of," he
said.

He said unit one and two were already in advanced stage
and very close to being operationalised.
To a question, he said the two countries are committed to
implementing the roadmap on Kudankulam project which India has
agreed with Russia, an apparent reference to the construction
of the third and fourth unit with Russian cooperation.

He said Russia is a time-tested partner of India`s
nuclear programme. "India and Russia are committed to a high
level of safety," he said.

The Kudankulam plant is a nuclear power station
currently under construction in Tamil Nadu`s Tirunelveli
district. Project investment cost to India was estimated to be
Rs 13,615 crore.

In the wake of Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan this
year, there has been a protest by locals in the villages
surrounding Kudankulam against commissioning of the project on
apprehensions of safety.

There have been talks between agitators and a government-
appointed committee and the exercise is still inconclusive.

After the talks, India and Russia signed five agreements
including one for technical assistance in the production of 42
Sukhoi-30MKIs.

PTI