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Kudankulam to go live during Putin trip via The Times of India

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“The time constraint will prevent Putin from going there himself but the commissioning can happen even in a virtual manner with the Russian President and PM Manmohan Singh together giving the go-ahead from Delhi,” said a source. It remains to be seen if the two sides, especially the Indian government, eventually agree to this as too much fanfare around the commissioning of the first 1,000 MW pressurized heavy water nuclear power plant could spark a fresh wave of protests from the locals.

For Putin, the commissioning of the plant could be a significant takeaway from his summit meet with Singh in the absence of any settlement of issues concerning Russian telecom giant Sistema and Kudankulam 3 and 4. Interestingly, the Russians seem to have been waiting for green signal from India to commission the plant. NPCIL started loading uranium fuel in the reactor in September, and now trials at different operating conditions are being carried out. “We have reached a stage where the commissioning of the plant means no more than pushing a button,” said a source.

Sources, however, said that there is still no progress in attempts by both sides to settle the issue of Kudankulam 3 and 4, which India wants to bring under the purview of its nuclear liability law. The two sides are discussing the likely hike in the cost of these two reactors following India’s decision. Along with the cancellation of Sistema’s licences for CDMA services by the Supreme Court, this was one of the reasons which forced Putin to defer his summit meet with Singh. The fact that the fresh 2G auctions have not yielded a substantial amount, according to Russian officials, has vindicated Sistema that did not participate in the auction. “Sistema has been proved correct by the fresh auction and we hope that India will approach Sistema’s case in a more liberal manner,” said Russian senior counselor Sergey Karmalito.

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