Election Commission nod to atomic energy department for Kudankulam pact


The Election Commission has given clearance to the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) to sign an agreement with its Russian counterpart for unit 3 and 4 of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant project (KKNPP) and a deal is expected to be signed soon.

"The Election Commission gave a green signal late last week. Now we can go ahead with the project," a senior DAE official said on condition of anonymity.

Sources said the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL), a Public Sector Undertaking under DAE which builds, operates and runs nuclear power plants in the country, has also approached its Russian counterpart.

"A date will be decided by both the parties and the agreement should be signed soon," added the official. The agreement could be signed as early as this month.

Units 3 and 4 of the KKNPP were stuck over the liability clause. In October last year, the deal could not be signed over the same issue when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Russia. However, after hectic negotiations between both the parties the issue was sorted out.

Last month, DAE secretary RK Singh along with other senior officers of the department had a meeting here with the Russian counterparts in which the deal is said to be been sealed. Things were expedited and the proposal was moved before the Cabinet Committee on Security.

However, the atomic department wanted to seek permission of the Election Commission as elections were declared a week later. "We wanted to play safe and did not want any kind of hurdles as the project has already been delayed for a long time," added the officer.

"Several deals including the Indo-US Nuclear Deal was inked during the UPA regime. KKNPP 1 and 2 also got commissioned during the Manmohan Singh tenure and the government wanted this agreement to be signed at the earliest," the official added.

In its ten-year tenure, the UPA government has signed nuclear deals with US, UK, France, Kazakhstan, South Korea for exchange of technology on nuclear issues and import of good quality uranium required for nuclear plants. Unit 1 of KKNPP was also commissioned during this time.