news Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - 05:30

Russia's nuclear energy corporation Rosatom, builders of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project, plans to commission the second unit within this year, it said on Monday.

"According to current plans, this is expected in summer. But definitely it will happen this year," Rosatom's deputy CEO (Operations Management) Alexander Lokshin told journalists here referring to the KNPP.

The operator Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) has postponed putting the power unit into commercial operation until July 2015, Rosatom said in a statement.

"Before that, commissioning had been postponed three times," it said.

"The construction of the second power unit has already been completed. At present the unit's equipment is being adjusted," the statement added.

NPCIL is hoping to load the real fuel in the second unit around June, for which it needs to get two more permissions from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, the state-run operators have said.

The first unit was connected to the southern power grid in October 2013, while commercial power generation began on December 31, 2014.

Meanwhile, on issues arising out of India's nuclear liability law, with the proposed nuclear insurance pool falling short by Rs.600 crore towards becoming operational, some foreign companies have shown an interest in being part of the initiative, the state-run General Insurance Corp. (GIC) said on Sunday.

"We have pursued some overseas players and have received good response. We are seeking their response on how to go about it," general manager GIC Y.Ramulu told reporters.

"We are also pursuing private sector companies. Six companies came with Rs.150 crore. Now, it has become Rs.900 crore. We are putting all our efforts into raising the remaining Rs.600 crore for operationalising the pool," he added.

The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010, prescribes that the nuclear insurance pool be made operational with funds of Rs.1,500 crore.

With India's nuclear liability issue holding up deals with various countries, GIC recently conducted an international workshop of stake-holders here on creation of a nuclear insurance pool.

"The General Insurance Corporation have conducted an international workshop in New Delhi on March 20, 2015 to take inputs from various stake-holders as well as clarify their doubts in the context of development of an appropriate insurance product to cover the liability under Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages (CLND) Act," Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply earlier this month.

An official source told IANS that GIC had said that of the Rs.1,500 crore of insurance cover required for the proposed Nuclear Insurance Pool, it would be in a position to provide only Rs.750 crore equivalent of insurance.

Under the CLND Act, besides the operator Nuclear Power Corp, equipment and material suppliers are also liable to pay damages if an accident occurs. Compensation of up to $244 million will have to be paid in case of an accident at any of the nuclear plant covered by the law.

Currently, nuclear plants in India only have insurance cover for zones that are outside the area of radiation and reactors. The new pool will provide insurance cover for both hot zones -- radiation and nuclear reactors -- and cold zones -- outside the reactor areas.

With IANS

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