DAE gets EC nod for signing pact for Koodankulam plant’s III & IV units

KoodankulamThe Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) can sign a nuclear reactor-purchase deal with Russia anytime soon as it has gained the Election Commission's permission for the same.

The DAE needs to purchase two 1,000 MW nuclear reactors for the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project's unit III and unit IV. But, the implementation of model code of conduct had barred the department from signing the deal.

A senior DAE official said the department had approached the EC last month, and the clearance came last week. The official added that the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) was already in talks with Russian counterparts, and the agreement could be penned down as early as this month.

Requesting anonymity, the official said, "The Election Commission gave a green signal late last week. Now we can go ahead with the project. A date will be decided by both the parties and the agreement should be signed soon."

Greenpeace, a group of environmental activists, had requested the EC to put off the approval of Koodankulam units III and IV, arguing that the plant was being built in undue haste. A case is still pending in the Supreme Court regarding the liabilities of Russia at the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project.

The nuclear plant's unit I of 1,000 MW attained criticality in July 2013 and started electricity generation in October. The unit II of the same capacity is expected to attain criticality by June this year. The plant would cost the exchequer nearly Rs 17,000 crore.

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