India, Russia may set up four more reactors in Kudankulam

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi, Nov 17 | Updated: Nov 19 2008, 04:55am hrs
While the impasse over the acquisition of the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov deal continues, India and Russia will sign an agreement for setting up four more reactors in the Kudankulam nuclear power project during the forth coming visit of the Russian president.

Also, during the first visit of the new Russian, which is expected to start on December 4, several bilateral agreements are to be signed in economic, trade and cultural areas.

Talking to media persons ahead of the visit of President Dimitry Medevedev in the first week of December, the Russian ambassador Vyacheslav Trubnikov, said the agreement would include adding two more reactors of 1,000 mw each to the existing two and induction of two more for a capacity of 1,200 mw each.

According to him, the Russian minister for nuclear industry will be in Mumbai shortly for talks with the Indian nuclear Establishment and will visit Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu for inspecting the site.

Trubnikov said that the deal on the aircraft carrier was purely run on commercial basis.

He did not deny that Russia had hiked the asking price to $2 billion, as reported in the media. The deal, which initially was fixed at about $800 million, was now hiked to two billion, according to reports.

The Russian envoy said prices of steel had increased which had resulted in price escalation.

There has been unexpected rise in prices...It is the commercial side of the deal which is being discussed, he said. While referring to media reports of arm-twisting by Russia, the Ambassador said when the deal was signed, there was arm-twisting on the other side (by India.)

Asked if there would be further price escalation by Russia, he said it depended upon what India wanted onboard. He did not give a time frame for the completion of the deal and supply of the aircraft carrier.

The envoy said that as part of defence cooperation Pyotr Velikiy, the flagship of the Northern fleet, a nuclear-powered missile cruiser, would be in India shortly for naval exercises in which Indian ships will also participate.

On an agreement on a liberal visa regime between India and Russia, he said it would all be done on a reciprocal basis.

Earlier, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon told diplomats and strategic experts that, both India and Russia are set to expand their nuclear cooperation as they deepen their ties in a changed international context.

Menon while inaugurating a two-day seminar, organised by the Observer Research Foundation and Unity of Russia Foundation, that brings together experts and diplomats of both countries to explore changing patterns of India-Russia relations, said, We hope to expand civil nuclear cooperation. All the formalities are done.