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.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (L) shakes hands with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Photo: Reuters
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 on Friday 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 on Friday.
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 Koodankulam 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.