India and Russia have resolved differences over the modalities of the remaining reactors for the Kudankulam nuclear power project and are close to a deal on two new units of the controversial project in the Tamil Nadu coast.
The row over India's nuclear liability law has been holding up the project and the resolution came with India offering to pay more for the reactors provided the Russian supplier took up responsibility for the safety of the reactors, each capable of generating 1000 MW of power.
Public fears over safety issues are holding up N-power projects across the country, especially after the Fakushima disaster in Japan that left several people dead and caused radiation hazards to several others.
There were also reports pointing to use of inferior quality of the equipment used at the Kudankulam N-power project.
Reports pointed to former chairman of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) A Gopalakrishnan also raising doubts over the quality of the equipment in the plant even as the central government speeded up the process to commissioning the first unit of the 400 MW Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant.
"Sub-standard materials have come to the Kudankulam plant and they are causing problems," the former AERB head was quoted as saying.
Head of the Russian specialists group at Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project Yevgeniy N Dudkin, however, said the KNPP incorporated superior technology and high quality equipment.
Meanwhile, a technical team from Russia is already in Mumbai to finalise details of the revised agreement so that the pact for reactors 3 and 4 can be signed at the earliest.
The cabinet committee on security has given the go-ahead to the Russia-built project days before a loan offer for the project lapsed.
Russia had extended a loan of $3.4 billion to India under a protocol signed by the two sides for funding two new units at Kudankulam last year. Under the protocol, the Russian government will extend export credit of $3.4 billion to Russian organisations at 4 per cent to help build the units.
The total cost of the Kudamkulam nuclear power project is expected to be more than $11 billion now.
The Russian side had objected to introduction of new clauses in the agreement and said it had not factored in the liability cost since the Indian position had not been formally conveyed.
The breakthrogh came after prime minister Manmohan Singh met Russian President Vladimir Putin at Durban on the sidelines of the BRICVS meet, where both countries agreed to work out further details of the deal without further delay.