Kudankulam nuclear power project cost up 14%

Construction began in Sept 2001 with estimated cost at Rs 13,600 cr; expenditure on the project at Rs 15,454 cr till Jan 2013

 Economy & Policy » News » News

BS Reporter  |  Chennai  March 21, 2013

The delay in commissioning of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) has pushed the project cost up around 14 per cent. When construction began in September 2001, the government had joined hands with Russia for the project, which was then expected to cost Rs 13,600 crore. But according to the government, till January 2013, expenditure on KNPP was Rs 15,454 crore.

Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office V Narayanasamy said, the expenditure on Kudankulam Project (KKNPP Units 1&2 – 2 x 1000 Mw) till January 2013 had been Rs 15,454 crore and efforts were being made to commission the first unit in May this year. It may be noted that the project was supposed to go on stream in Sept 2007.

KNPP is in the coastal village of Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district, 650 km south of Chennai. An inter-governmental agreement for the project was signed in Nov 1988 by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and erstwhile Soviet Union’s President Mikhail Gorbachev, for construction of two reactors.

However, the project was in a limbo for a decade due to the political and economic upheaval in Russia after the post-1991 breakup of the Soviet Union. There were also objections from the United States on the grounds that the agreement does not meet the 1992 terms of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

Then, the construction began only in September 2001 and the cost was estimated to be $3 billion (around Rs 13,600 crore).

In a statement to the Lok Sabha on Thursday, the minister, said in nuclear power plants, a series of activities including integrated system tests, first criticality, subsequent performance tests, synchronisation of the unit with the grid and raising of power in steps take place.

The nuclear power reactors at Kudankulam employ several safety features to ensure protection of people and the environment even under most stressful situation like extreme natural events leading to a loss of power and cooling water supply, the minister said.


Nuclear Law Association to host meeting on India’s nuclear energy sector in March

MUMBAI: The Nuclear Law Association will host its second annual meeting on “India’s Nuclear Energy Sector: Business Opportunities and Legal Challenges” in Mumbai. The meet on March 2 this year is expected to explore legal and policy issues in respect to India’s nuclear energy sector which is currently generating a lot of heat.

Specifically, the discussion will be based on three major issues, said a member of NLA. The main focus is on Nuclear energy projects and private sector participation; Regulatory and Stakeholder engagement in nuclear energy projects and Nuclear Liability and Insurance: impact on commercial viability.

Judges of Bombay High Court; officers of Atomic Energy Commission; senior counsels from the Bombay Bar Association; senior legal officers of nuclear energy industries from India and abroad are speakers.

Nuclear energy is posed for a major expansion in India. The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), subsequent to the Nuclear Suppliers Group‘s wavier, has projected an ambitious target from the current 4GW to 30 GW by 2020 and 60 GW by 2032. This expansion is planned through major

imports of high capacity nuclear reactors from supplier countries like Russia, France, US and others. And also through aggressive expansion of indigenous reactors.

In respect to imported reactors, the DAE has already earmarked sites for Joint Venture partnerships between NPCIL and other vendors. Many countries are expected to participate in this planned expansion. Importantly, while there are significant business opportunities for both Indian and

foreign companies in the nuclear energy sector, such large-scale projects have a risk dimension as well, which increases the need for it to be supported by an adequate legal and regulatory regime, a NLA release said..

The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act enacted in 2010 with the clear message that liability from nuclear damage will have to be met by every party in the business chain, is viewed as a strong law from India. However, the law has seen the resistance from both supplier countries for being too far-reaching and not exactly in tune with international treaties; whereas domestically some have criticised it as being too weak in some respects, a lawyer-member from NLA said. The subsequent rules that were formulated seemed to have created further legal confusion on its interpretation. As a result, foreign suppliers are delaying finalising inter-government agreements. Locally, the proposed expansion is already witnessing implementational hurdles like local acceptability, land acquisition, environmental issues, perceived regulatory ineffectiveness and more, NLA believes. To strengthen the regulatory framework, the Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority Bill, 2011, is currently been debated in the Parliament.


Inside India’s WoRld of Nuclear Failures #DAE

[Mail Today (India)]

Al Bawaba Ltd. Tomes on India’s nuclear establishment are seldom racily written or free from rhetoric. Here’s anotable exception from aPrinceton scholar

NNUCLEAR- RELATED issues have dominated public discourse in the country with varying intensity since 1998, when the second set of nuclear tests were conducted at Pokharan.

A few years later came the Indo- US civilian nuclear deal which shook the very foundations of UPA- I, and follow- up actions such as the Nuclear Suppliers Group ( NSG) waiver and nuclear liability law continues to be in a limbo.

In the past two years, protests against the nuclear power plant in Kudankulam, Tamil Nadu, have grabbed headlines and eyeballs. It is interesting how the debate pendulum has swung from the bomb, which symbolised national security, to nuclear power, which is claimed to signify energy security.

It is equally interesting to note that both the developments are functions of a single wing of the government — the Department of Atomic Energy ( DAE). There is nothing wrong with this arrangement, but for the fact that this wing of the government is steeped in unbound secrecy even in this age of transparency and RTI. There is very little known about how it works, but for its sanitised ( and often self- contradicting) annual reports, glossy publicity literature and occasional institutional biopics penned by serving or retired nuclear scientists. Kudos to M. V. Ramana, an Indian scholar working at Princeton University, for putting together a critical history of India’s nuclear power prorgramme, despite such handicaps.

The Indian nuclear establishment over the decades has successfully earned political patronage and has crafted a glorified public image by projecting itself as the pride of Indian science. An entire generation of Indians has grown with this establishment’s self- congratulatory claims, such as: ” it was the genius of Homi Bhabha that laid the foundation of nuclear programme”; ” India has developed and mastered nuclear power technology indigenously”; ” the nuclear programme is mainly for power development and not for making nuclear weapons”; ” nuclear is the only viable source of cheap and clean electricity”; the nuclear safety record of India is exemplary”, and so on.

Ramana has busted all such myths with surgical precision and through scholarly collation and analysis of publicly available information, data and scanty archival material. There is no rhetoric. The book’s strength lies in the way the author has used DAE’s own The links Bhabha in Delhi wing atomic could include Saha.

Bhabha secrecy right modelling yardsticks and promises made to the nation to judge its performance.

For a student of science and nuclear policy making in India, the book reads like a racy novel. It is an eye- opener.

The most revealing part of the narrative is the historical perspective relating to seeding of the nuclear power programme and its early growth under Bhabha, and the political patronage provided by Nehru.

The book shows how personal links with Nehru helped Bhabha work his way through Delhi and have a dedicated wing in the government for atomic energy that nobody could question and did not include critics such as Meghnad Saha.

Bhabha deliberately built secrecy into the programme right at the beginning by modelling the Atomic Energy Commission and the atomic energy after the British Atomic Energy Act. Though Nehru publicly defended the need for secrecy, it worried him privately as reflected in of his letters where he says, ” The work of AEC is shrouded in secrecy. I try to keep in touch with from time to time. … I do not know how else can proceed in this matter.” Not much changed since the times of Nehru. Ramana repeatedly denied information about economic costs of fast breeder reactors, among other things, under the Act.

DAE’s obsession with secrecy understandable when one looks at its dismal performance on every count — design and development of nuclear reactors, power generation, functioning of heavy water plants, reprocessing plants, uranium mining, and so on.

It begins with claims made by Bhabha and Nehru about Apsara — the much- acclaimed swimming pool reactor — being an indigenous effort, whereas it was completely based on the design and technical data that Bhabha got from his colleague from Cambridge, Sir John Cockcroft.

The first unit of electricity from a nuclear plant came from the Tarapur reactor, which was supplied by General Electric, was erected by Bechtel and funded by USAID. Ramana, using authentic data and examples, also exposes the half- truths about indigenous development and growth under the technology denial regime post- Pokharan I. The most glaring part of the Indian progeramme and duplicity of its leaders are the claims made from time to time about the promise of nuclear energy. In the 1980s, DAE claimed it would generate 10,000 MW of nuclear power by 2000. In the 2000s, it changed the goal post to another rhythmic figure — 20,000 MW by 2020. To justify the civilian nuclear deal, it came up with another magical figure of 275,000 MW by 2052.

All these promises have been made by DAE fully knowing that it neither has the necessary knowhow, fuel and technology, nor the money to achieve even a fraction of it. Despite gobbling up thousands of crores over half a century, the DAE has an installed capacity of just 4,780 MW, compared with 22,333 MW of renewable power installed capacity achieved with a tiny budget. The jugglery of figures also continues when it comes to calculating costs of nuclear power.

The book is highly recommended for policy makers and energy policy planners as well as anyone who is interested in an independent view of India’s nuclear power programme. It is a valuable addition to the growing literature on this subject.

It was Homi Bhabha who started the tradition of hiding the DAE behind an iron veil of secrecy

source- http://www.equities.com/news/


India signing nuclear test ban treaty to kick-start talks with Japan?

TOKYO/ NEW DELHI: It may not be necessary for India to sign Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty(CTBT) for resumption of talks with Japan for peaceful use of nuclear energy but it will certainly help if any such bilateral agreement can weave in New Delhi’s commitment to ban on nuclear test. Top diplomatic sources here told TOI that merely a generic voluntary moratorium on carrying out nuclear tests, which India keeps reiterating, will not be of much help.

The talks for civilian nuclear cooperation between the two countries have remained suspended since the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in March, 2011. In a recent interaction with outgoing Japanese PMYoshihiko Noda in Cambodia, PM Manmohan Singh had raised the issue of nuclear cooperation with Tokyo, but there is still no commitment from Japan exactly when talks will restart.

“Japan is not insisting that India sign CTBT but it is my reading that if India can commit to a test ban in any bilateral agreement for such a cooperation between the two countries, it will certainly make things easier,” a top diplomatic source handling Japan’s non-proliferation policy told TOI. The official was talking on the sidelines of the Fukushima ministerial conference that discussed measures to enhance nuclear safety worldwide, apart from showcasing Japan’s efforts to cope up with the nuclear disaster.

The official added though that Japan was not imposing any pre-conditions for resumption of nuclear dialogue. Indian officials here said though that it was not possible for New Delhi to go any further than what New Delhi had committed to before Nuclear Suppliers Group(NSG) in September, 2008, where got India a waiver to carry out nuclear commerce. Then foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee had said in a statement that India remained committed to a voluntary and unilateral moratorium on nuclear test and to negotiate a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT).

India is hoping that the Liberal Democratic Party chief and the incoming PM, Shinzo Abe, will work towards resumption of talks. Abe shunned the policy of doing away completely with nuclear power and yet managed an emphatic win in the recent Lower House elections. After his victory, Abe has suggested that he will reconsider Japan’s ban on construction of new nuclear reactors in the country. Abe had earlier described the Noda-led government’s call for zero-dependence on nuclear energy as “unrealistic and irresponsible”.



Jaitapur- No Thank You!

Anny Poursinoff intervened today in the Assembly to oppose the agreement between France and India on civilian nuclear energy and show support to the people of Jaitapur who refuse implantation by two Areva EPR on a seismic zone to 400 miles from Bombay. This text was to pass without discussion, but at the request of environmentalists, the opposition was able to get a debate. The text of the speech is below.

Mr. Speaker,
Mr. Rapporteur,

I thank my colleagues in the opposition who, at our request, have made ​​this debate possible.
Indeed, nothing comes to nuclear is trivial. The Court of Auditors has just recently conceded to environmentalists on the hidden costs of this industry.
We are now proposing to facilitate intellectual exchange on civil nuclear energy between France and India.
In fact, we fear that the agreement is linked to the establishment by Areva EPR nuclear power plant at Jaitapur in a reservoir of biodiversity and an earthquake zone, 400 kilometers from Bombay, the Indian economic metropolis.
A few days after the anniversary of Fukushima, According to the report of the Nuclear Safety Authority showing that plants have nothing infallible, our Indian friends themselves have doubts: they asked Areva to strengthen the security of computer systems.
Indeed, in a country ranked fourth terrorist targets, the risk of attack adds to the risk of accidents.
However EPR is particularly dangerous. It produced plutonium and MOX use, whose radioactivity is multiplied by 5 to 7 times compared to uranium fuel.
Through this agreement, we are asked to take your risk of a new Fukushima and a new Hiroshima.
No, I’m not exaggerating.
You know, India, like Pakistan have developed nuclear weapons. These two rivals have not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
You also know, France is selling weapons to both countries – let us remember the case of Karachi or the recent sale of more than one hundred combat aircraft to India.
Yet the agreement on intellectual property could open the door to the transfer of technology could be used for military purposes, whether reprocessing plants and enrichment uranium or plutonium production.
The Nuclear Suppliers Group, last June, has yet banned the export of sensitive equipment to countries that have not signed the nonproliferation treaty.
We therefore request to take the risk of putting us in breach of international laws.
The French government is desperate to sell plants!
I say here solemnly: I hope that negotiations with India on nuclear power will fail.
Democracy required: the local population is opposed to the positioning of plants Areva.A protester has already paid with his life!
The reason the scientific and economic imposes too.
Five years late for the EPR in Finland! Four years late in Flamanville! An addition that never ceases to grow!
Why offer our Indian friends in such a poisoned chalice?
Our cooperation should deploy around peaceful activities such as the fight against global warming, and not focus on energy death, arms sales and the sale of nuclear!
“We must safeguard the jobs of Areva! “Will protest my fellow pro-nuclear.
But technology transfer, which India does not recognize patents, does nothing to protect employees of French nuclear. The Indians have excellent scientists and excellent engineers!
As for the excuse of economic development, it does not. Local people do not have the jobs generated by the nuclear studies in Tamil Nadu have shown.
Residents of Jaitapur do not allow themselves to take: they refuse to be expropriated, they do not want these plants.
We either!
I’ll try to say in Hindi: dji Jaitapur nahi!
Jaitapur no thank you!
The French government demonstrated a bad faith criminal. On the one hand it ensures that there is no risk with nuclear power, on the other he pressures his Indian counterparts to change their legislation.
India provides that the manufacturer of a central is responsible for disaster.
After Bhopal, we understand the caution of the Indian government vis-à-vis Western industrial partners unscrupulous.
Gold the President of the French Republic himself has asked Prime Minister of India to relax the law . Why? Because Areva does not want to be liable for a nuclear accident at Jaitapur?
Neither do we, we do not bear this responsibility.
But the best way to avoid another Fukushima is to forego building these plants, which are located, I repeat, on a seismic zone … as Fessenheim!
French Environmentalists expressed their solidarity with the opposition of Indian civil society.
I call you, dear colleagues, to do the same, and vote against it.
In France as in India, future generations must be protected from disasters and nuclear waste.

Watch the Video here


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