National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval concluded his two-day visit to Russia on Wednesday with both sides working to iron out their differences and sign a pact that allows Moscow to build two nuclear reactors of the Kudankulam plant.
In his meetings with Russian officials, including security council secretary Nikolai Patrushev — a close aide of President Vladimir Putin, Doval is learnt to have conveyed the message that nuclear cooperation is an important pillar of the two countries’ bilateral ties.
The Russians have been putting pressure on India to sign the General Framework Agreement (GFA) for units 5 and 6 of the plant after it missed two deadlines late last year. Russian deputy Prime Minister Deputy Dmitry Rogozin had taken up the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a recent meeting
An inter-ministerial grouping had already cleared the GFA, but sources said some issues related to the pact need to be sorted out before a final nod is given.
Sources said the two sides need to reach a consensus on the ‘terms and conditions’ of the Russian loan considering that the nuclear power project’s cost is rising exponentially.
For example, Kudankulam 1 and 2 reactors had a sanctioned cost of Rs 17,270 crore, which is up for renewal , and the sanctioned cost for reactors 3 and 4 was Rs 39,849 crore.
According to an official, the “rising cost of power plants will be an issue because it will have to get reflected in the traffic of electricity. The higher cost for electricity will make it an unviable proposition”.
The benchmarked price for per mega watt electric (MWE) is Rs 8-10 crore for the existing nuclear power reactors.
Sources said the officials of two countries are engaged in talks to ensure the that pact is ready to be signed during the 18th annual India-Russia summit on June 1.
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