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Updated: December 17, 2011 03:04 IST

India, Russia agree on credit for Kudankulam Units 3, 4

    Vladimir Radyuhin
    Sandeep Dikshit
Comment (19)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev greets Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during their meeting at Moscow's Kremlin on Friday.
AP Russian President Dmitry Medvedev greets Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during their meeting at Moscow's Kremlin on Friday.

India and Russia have resolved their differences over the Kudankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu, according to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and highly placed Russian government sources.

In fact, Dr. Singh was confident of “going ahead'' with Unit I of the Russia-supplied Kudankulam plant in a “couple of weeks.'' The second one should follow after six months, he said at a joint press conference with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev here on Friday.

Separately, highly placed sources in the Russian nuclear energy sector said the two sides had sorted out their differences over the setting up of the next two units, and “maybe, more.” The sources claimed that the nuclear liability legislation, the bone of contention between the two sides, would not apply to these units as well.

“There can be no question about it: the original agreement on Units 1 and 2 at Kudankulam apply to Units 3 and 4, as well as to any additional reactors that may be put up on the site,” the sources said.

Dr. Singh seemed to endorse this observation. “The two sides have concluded negotiations and agreed on the terms and conditions for the Russian credit for Units 3 and 4 of the Kudankulam nuclear power project. We look forward to moving ahead with the road map for cooperation in the nuclear energy sector, which we signed in 2010,'' he said.

The road map he was referring to was about the setting up at least a dozen reactors based on Russian technology. India has so far demurred, claiming that funds are released on the basis of projections made in the Five-Year Plans and, therefore, it was difficult to make commitments far into the future.

“Kudankulam I and II are at an advanced stage and are very close to being operational. There were some temporary problems and some agitation arising from concerns about nuclear safety and the impact on livelihood. We will overcome those problems and ensure that the concerns are adequately taken care of…that's a commitment India and Russia will honour…I am confident that within a couple of weeks we will go ahead with operationalising Kudankulam I,” the Prime Minister said at the news conference.

The Russian sources made it clear that Moscow's proposal to New Delhi to set up a joint facility for production of nuclear fuel on the Russian soil would not lead to transfer of enrichment and reprocessing (ENR) technologies to India.

“Russia will not under any circumstances violate its international commitments in this sphere,” the sources said referring to the Nuclear Suppliers Group's ban on sale of sensitive nuclear technologies to countries that have not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

A joint statement released later noted that negotiations for Units 3 and 4 were at an advanced stage and the two sides “reiterated their commitment to the agreements reached previously on the construction of Russian design nuclear plants at “new sites'' in India.

On Russian insistence, India agreed to place an order for 42 Sukhois that will include replacements for the two crashed fighters.

India and Russia also concluded negotiations on obtaining military and strategic communications from the Glonass constellation of satellites being put into orbit by Moscow as an alternative to the West-controlled GPS system.

I welcome the Prime Minister's statement from Moscow that the Kudamkulam Nuclear Power Plant-I would be operationalised within the next six weeks and that the KKNPP-II by May 2012. The anti-KKNPP protest by some misinformed villagers under prodding by unknown agencies probably funded by foreign countries is most deplorable, and the Governments, both the State and the Centre should not succumb to the agitators. However, the Centre should ensure to put in place a proper safety mechanism and ensure the long term wellbeing and safety of the people of the surrounding region in the event of any catastrophy of any kind.

from:  K.S.V.
Posted on: Dec 19, 2011 at 15:46 IST

I welcome the Prime Minister's statement from Moscow that the Kudamkulam Nuclear Power Plant-I would be operationalised within the next six weeks and that the KKNPP-II by May 2012. The anti-KKNPP protest by some misinformed villagers under prodding by unknown agencies probably funded by foreign countries is most deplorable, and the Governments, both the State and the Centre should not succumb to the agitators. However, the Centre should ensure to put in place a proper safety mechanism and ensure the long term wellbeing and safety of the people of the surrounding region in the event of any catastrophy of any kind.

from:  K.S.V.
Posted on: Dec 19, 2011 at 15:46 IST

14,000 crore cant be turned into a monument. The so called leader of the protesting group has questioned the government for not providing training before the plant goes critical. If the people around the site are protesting where can the procedure for providing requisite training on hazards etc etc is possible. Is there an atmosphere for officials to approach the people and give training. The zone (with external help) outside the plant is more volatile than inside. This is not a project started by a Indian Company or MNC. This project is between two countries. After all these years why this agitation. Why now...

from:  Veera
Posted on: Dec 19, 2011 at 15:20 IST

The concern raised by some of our learned readers on waste disposal is not valid. Let's not divert the attention and raise a new bogey. All we know, India has as many as 20 operating reactors & some of them are in operation for more than two decades now & as one of the key member of the expert panel shared on TV/media the other day, there are well established and regulated procedures on this issue and let us leave it to them to handle it. Afterall, in Indian context, strictly speaking, spent fuel is said to be, not a waste, as it is to be reused as a fuel for future power plants. If our scientists have handled it well so far, they can manage it better in the years to come as well.

Let us therefore not get over activated on radioactive waste disposal and start opposing nuclear energy at the drop of hat.

from:  Prasad
Posted on: Dec 18, 2011 at 14:47 IST

I am glad that Manmohan Singh is finally speaking like a leader as opposed to his dithering image in last few months. NPP protest that pays little attention to logic and reason is not a protest, it is plain and simple paranoia. In this age of global warming related pollution restrictions and India's lack of adequate energy sources it has to make use of every possible avenue to provide affordable and safe energy to its millions of citizens who either have no access or at best sporadic (note the frequent power cuts in TN and other states) access to electricity. And no just renewable like solar or wind power cannot even come close to meeting India's massive energy needs. Germany can afford to shut down NPP because they have access to plenty gas from Russia, they can get electricity from other EU nations who generate nuclear power and they can afford to pay as a rich nation. India is not Germany. Govt should take step stringent measures to stop this protest movement. Enough is enough.

from:  Jitendra Dutta
Posted on: Dec 17, 2011 at 23:26 IST

How can Mr.Manmohan Singh can go ahead with his talks with Russia when the protest is still going on? I'm not one of the members who is protesting specifically for Koodankulam - but am against nuclear power in total. People should read Chapter 4 of Part II "Nuclear Energy - Salvation or Damnation" in E.F.Schumacher's "Small is Beautiful" - Though the book is first published in 1973, many questions are still unanswered. Have we found out a way to safely dispose the radio active waste products? Safety measures for the reactor / building is one aspect of the safety. Dumping of the radioactive waste is another matter. When nations like Germany are waking up after Japan disaster and decided to close their nuclear units, why are we very adamant ? More than the near term Power crisis, long term effects of the land / people are more important. I honestly think, no where in India, we should allow any more nuclear reactors.

from:  Rajlakshmi
Posted on: Dec 17, 2011 at 20:04 IST

As per the Central Electricity Authority data, Tamilnadu is facing a shortage of 3000 MW as on today. TN being one of the most progressive state in the country, the power demand is expected to grow up along with GDP growth, and this shortage may grow further in the years to come, unless new plants start generating power.
In this backdrop, additional units being planned at Kudankulam will bring back the prominence status TN enjoyed in the few years ago.
These additionl units along with Unit - 1 & 2 would go a long way in making Tamilnadu from a "POWER DEFICIT" state to "POWER SURPLUS" state.
This should indeed be matter of pride for entire Tamilnadu as it will then have the enviable honour of having the biggest ever power park in its backyard. This would also help us to ease our over dependency on coal powered plants.
Let's not allow anyone to thwart this grand 'MISSION OF OUR NATION' with a "POWER"ful VISION!

from:  Ravi
Posted on: Dec 17, 2011 at 16:33 IST

It is deplorable that the Centre is imposing its will (or the Russian business needs) on the people of Tamil Nadu. When thousands of local people have expressed their fear and rejected the project in their backyard, it is callous and high-handed that the Centre goes ahead with the project regardless. When even the CM of Tamil Nadu has refused to support this project, why would the Centre stomp all over it anyway? How is this democratic? The less said about how we can clean up after a disaster (Bhopal tragedy), the less said about how we can make the foreign companies for their negligence (Dow Chemicals), the better. When the developed world is pulling away from this technology (e.g. Germany has ordered phasing out of nuclear plants), why would we want it in our backyard? And all this, for whom? For some of us sitting pretty in cities enjoying our environmentally costly and unsustainable lives? Let us hope better sense prevails, and rise above our differences and keep our lives simple.

from:  Ramesh Chandran
Posted on: Dec 17, 2011 at 15:30 IST

Credit goes to Honorable Prime Minister in steering through the things for the over all progress of the country. It has become fashion to oppose every Govt decision and suspect the safety of Nuclear Plants inspite of repeated clarifications. China's massive Nuclear power program is equally applicable to India. In Fukushima as well as in Chernobil not even a single death occured where as thousands died in Tsunami. Kudankulam NPP safety features were explained to all and irrationally people are instigated to agitate against the plant causing unnecessary delay in plants commissioning. People should have faith in the capabilities of our technical people who are designing, constructing and operating the nuclear power plants in the last 50 years.We should not loose time.

from:  Vijaya
Posted on: Dec 17, 2011 at 15:10 IST

When this whole Kudankulam conroversy had errupted, I too was sceptical about the safety aspects of Nuclear Plant with Fukushima in the back drop of mind. But having watched the arguments & counter arguments from both sides, since last couple of months,I'm convinced that, Kudankulam can be safe & PMANY shall gracefully bow out of the scene, paving the way for an early commissioning of the plant. The church priests should also desist from bringing further disrepute to christianity. They have done enough damage in the recent times, with their right or wrong stance on Kudankulam. Let them restrict themselves to preaching religion and not science.

from:  George Desouza
Posted on: Dec 17, 2011 at 12:58 IST

7700 fatalities in coal mining alone in last for decades and none in case of nuclear power shows the safety consciousness of the nuclear industry. Building multiple units at one site has huge advantage in terms of utilization of resources (land( and shared infrastructure amongst different units. The PM has already indicated that concerns of the local population are important to the Government of India and must
be addressed in totality. Its time to start work on additional units.

from:  sudhinder thakur
Posted on: Dec 17, 2011 at 12:45 IST

Decision on nuclear plants must be taken at national level and once decision taken, no further protests should be allowed anywhere in the country. When pollution free energy is needed most, it is ridiculous to agitate on commissioning of Kudankulam plants. It is welcome that agreement is getting ready for 3rd and 4th plants at Kudankulam itself.

from:  R.Ganesan.
Posted on: Dec 17, 2011 at 12:06 IST

good move . India desperately needs nuclear energy. Those who are protesting against nuclear power plants should be educated about the security concerns and above all they also need to know how nuclear power is going to change the electricity needs . another related good news came from Australia when labor party took a u-turn over ban of uranium sales to India.

from:  Sharma RX , Covina ca
Posted on: Dec 17, 2011 at 11:12 IST

The spirit of nuclear liability law is to create high standard for safety. Financial liability is an effective mechanism to enforce the safety norms. Even in best of times, nuclear energy generation is a dangerous operation and allowing fine-print exclusion undermines human and environmental values. Our Prime Minister must act in the interest of the people he governs and has no right to compromise their life or their livelihood.
Indian nuclear industry lacks accountability.
Spain operates 8 reactors and produces 7, 567 MWe.
Belgium operates 7 reactors and produces 5,927 MWe.
Taiwan operates 6 reactors and produces 4,982 MWe.
India operates 20 reactors and produces 4,391 MWe.
S Korea operates 21 reactors and produces 18,698 MWe.
Nuclear industry needs heavy investment and in India such investment comes at the sacrifice of other developments.
It is criminal offense to allow such inefficiency.

from:  Michael Titus
Posted on: Dec 17, 2011 at 10:37 IST


Bravo! Very good decision in one sense since time has shown that The nuclear plants are safe enough and the human race has successfully mastered Nuclear power. If there are detractors let them be reminded that even after so many thousands of death due to automobile accidents millions of people still want to drive cars. Two more nuclear plants will ensure that the whole thing can be protected better from the natural disasters and human ones also.

from:  Prof.Paul.V.John
Posted on: Dec 17, 2011 at 09:51 IST

Its admirable the matured and mutual respect between two allies. Communication in any sphere is the key to success. i truly see manmohansingh as an ambassador to the worlds stability. russia has always been a dear friend to india. the us now recognises mother indias potential as a great contibutor to world alignment. fostering cordiality with all nations sets the parameters of a true democracy. may the peoples of the world be sensitised to the fact not once in her age old history has she ever attempted to conquer another peoples land or subjugate them in any way. like a true mother she teaches her offspring to persevere steadfastly in the face of adversity. can we say the same for others in the region. i am honored to have my grandparents hailing from the India shore.

from:  Shanti maharaj
Posted on: Dec 17, 2011 at 05:36 IST

In respect of koodankulam np our pm and the Russian govt should give in writing that the safety of the plant is fully taken care and will not destroy the marine products in the sea and a top level safety steering committe is appointed and give unbiased reports about the plant on a regular basis. Our pm should invite select members from the protest group and create a confidence that the govt is very much concerned with the welfare of the people and all measures of safety is taken care off. The center should arrange a public meeting in Koodankulam area inviting top nuclear scientists like dr.kalam,dr. Prasad (former barc chairman) and dr. Srinivasan and so on. And clear all fear phobias. It is reliably learnt our pm is shortly visiting Tamil nadu and his personal visit to this area and meet the people concerned will add feather to his genuine effort of the people concern.

from:  C s sivakumar
Posted on: Dec 17, 2011 at 02:46 IST

It is a great sigh of relief to ordinary people of Tamilnadu who desperately need power.

from:  Bipin
Posted on: Dec 16, 2011 at 23:26 IST

I am curious about "On Russian insistence, India agreed to place an order for 42 Sukhois that will include replacements for the two crashed fighters". What does this mean? It seems to imply that Russia is forcing India to place order for the planes... As such India is now going through an almost economic crisis with plummeting rupee, slow growth etc. and now Russia is "insisting" that India spend more money on Russian fighter jets... Why would a long time friend like Russia make such demands... perhaps the outcome of over dependence on Russian weaponry...

from:  Jitendra Dutta
Posted on: Dec 16, 2011 at 23:03 IST
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