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Russia loan for N-plant

New Delhi, July 17: Russia today signed a protocol granting India soft loans to cover more than half the cost of two more nuclear power plants at Kudankulam, Tamil Nadu, where two 1000MW Russian reactors are now nearing completion.

Under the protocol, the Russian Federation will extend state credit of Rs 17,000 crore for the two additional reactors which the Indian atomic energy department has estimated will cost about Rs 32,000 crore.

The loans will come with an interest rate of 4 per cent per year, India’s department of atomic energy said today, after the protocol was signed by a senior DAE official and Russia’s deputy finance minister Sergei Sorchak. The finance conditions for units 3 and 4 at Kudankulam are similar to those for units 1 and 2 now nearing completion, a DAE official said.

Opposition by local communities over the past year has contributed to delays in activities on units 1 and 2. But the DAE has said it expects the first of these to deliver electricity to the grid by September this year and the second one about seven months after that.

The reactors at Kudankulam will significantly add to India’s existing installed nuclear power capacity of 4780MW, generated through 20 reactors, and are expected to be key milestones towards DAE’s goal of achieving 20,000MW of energy from the atom by the year 2022.

Under the pact signed today, Russia will provide a loan of up to US$3400 million to finance 85 per cent of the equipment, supplies, and services provided by Russian organisations for the construction of the two new plants.

The money will have to be paid back over 14 years, repayment starting one year after the commissioning of the reactors. Russia will also provide a loan of US$800 million, or 85 per cent, of the cost of fuel for the two reactors.

India’s Nuclear Power Corporation had four years ago identified Haripur in Bengal as a candidate site for another nuclear power park suitable for imported Russian reactors, but opposition by local communities has stalled the proposal.