Additional liabilities will push up K'kulam cost: Russia

Additional liabilities will push up K'kulam cost: Russia

Ahead of a key bilateral meeting, Russia today said the cost of the third and fourth unit of the Kudankulam atomic power plant would escalate if it is brought under the purview of India's civil nuclear liability law over which differences remained.

Russia also said the row over its telecom firm Sistema after the cancellation of 2G licenses will have a "great repercussion" not only for bilateral cooperation but also for foreign investments into India. It hoped a solution that is acceptable to both parties can be reached.

"If there are several points that require additional assurances, of course, it will require additional money to be paid by India," visiting Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin told reporters in response to questions on the possibility of India bringing the two new units of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu under the ambit of its nuclear liability law.

Rogozin along with External Affairs Minister S M Krishna will co-chair the meeting of the Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC) here tomorrow.

Differences in perception over the nuclear liability law have become a bone of contention between India and Russia in negotiations on units III and IV. The law makes foreign suppliers liable for compensation in the event of accidents.

Russia argues that the civil nuclear liability law should not apply to these units as the agreement on them predates the 2010 civil liability law, and could be seen as "grandfathered" by the original 1988 agreement while India has clearly stated that making an exception for Russia will amount to diluting its law which will encourage the US and France to seek similar exemptions, which it cannot afford.

The estimated cost of units III and IV is USD 6.4 billion, of which USD 3.4 billion will be taken care of by Russian state credits.

Citing lessons learnt from 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident, Rogozin said Russian reactors provided to India were "state-of-the-art" and there need be no fears over it.

Noting that Sistema's project in India is "big" involving USD 3 billion, some part of which is state money, Rogozin said it is not possible to renew the terms when the contract is concluded. "The Sistema contract was concluded based on Indian laws," he said.

He said the problems in Sistema's investments in India will have "great repercussion" for future cooperation not only for Russian partners but also for foreign investments to this country.

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