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`Koodankulam project going on ahead of schedule'

By J.V. Siva Prasanna Kumar

MADURAI, OCT.4. Russia has executed a sovereign guarantee for lifetime supply of fuel and spareparts to help the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) to operate, without any hitch, the VVER (the Russian version of Pressurised Water Reactor) 1000-mw nuclear reactor coming up at Koodankulam in Tirunelveli district.

The guarantee will be upheld by the Russian government as per an agreement reached by the Governments of India and Russia recently, the NPCIL Chairman and Managing Director, S. K. Jain, has said.

Speaking to The Hindu here on Sunday, Dr. Jain said: "Political disturbance across the globe, or the change of governments in the country, will not create any problem in obtaining the supply."

The ship carrying the turbines and components of the plant will reach the Tuticorin port from Petersburg.

On the construction of the Koodankulam plant, he said the project was progressing ahead of schedule, and the three portions of the reactor — the nuclear steam, generation and balancing plant, which have been tested by the Russian and Indian engineers in Petersburg — met international standards. Nearly 50 per cent of the construction of the first unit was completed, and the hot commissioning would take place in 2006.

He said the NPCIL had an authorised capital base of Rs.15,000 crores and Rs.9, 000 crores had been paid up. It was executing projects worth Rs.22, 000 crores, and 40 plants were under operation, and eight nuclear power plants were being constructed. The NPCIL netted a profit of Rs.2, 600 crores and It paid a dividend of Rs. 520 crores to the Centre, Dr. Jain said.

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