India and Russia have agreed on the cost of building a nuclear plant in Koodankulam (Tamil Nadu) with Russia’s assistance. The agreement was announced by chairman of India’s nuclear power engineering corporation V K Chaturvedi and Russian Atomic Deputy Minister Yevgeny Reshetnikov.

Mr Chaturvedi said that the cost of the two 1000MWe VVER units is estimated at $3 billion. However, he added that efforts are being made to bring down the cost by about 6%. He said this could be brought about by increasing the level of Indian participation since Russian manpower costs were higher.

Moscow is responsible for preparing a feasibility study, organising control over the construction and equipment supplies, and training Indian personnel. India is to prepare the infrastructure and take part in commissioning the plant. A feasibility study is ready for approval and Russia has agreed to provide a low-interest and long-term credit.

The project cost has been set at $3 billion and the contract for the supply of reactors and turbines will be signed in January 2002. Victor Kozlov, General Director of Atomstroyexport, said the Russian-Indian project coordination committee signed the relevant protocol in July. The protocol also approved the schedule to complete the project. Kozlov added that the contract to prepare technical documentation for the construction of the power station will be signed by the end of 2001.

Construction of the two 1000MWe VVERs will begin at the end of this year. The first reactor is due to be commissioned in 2007, and the second one a year later. Sufficient land has been acquired at Koodankulam for up to six units.

Power from the plant will be distributed between all the southern states. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India aims to increase its overall capacity from its present installed 2740MWe. Plans include two 500MWe units at Tarapur and two 220MWe units at Kaiga.