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Home News Power Sector News Kudankulam is still the cheapest of all foreign-built nuclear plants

Kudankulam is still the cheapest of all foreign-built nuclear plants

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KudankulamKudankulam Nuclear Power Plant's unit 3 and 4, for which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin on 15-10-2016 laid the foundation through video-conferencing, are expected to sell electricity at ₹3.90 a kilowatt hour (kWh), according to World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO).

KKNP 3 and 4, with a net capacity of 917 MW each, will cost ₹39,849 crore ($6.5 billion) to build. The first two units, the second of which was connected to the grid only in August 2016, cost ₹17,270 crore, but the cost is under revision to ₹22,462 crore. The Kudankulam plant's equipment and fuel are supplied by Russia's State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom).

Despite costing twice as much as the first two units, 3 and 4 will still sell their electricity at the same price.

The price of the second set of units nearly doubled from the first two because of India's Nuclear Liability Act. The 2010 vendor liability law gives the operator of the plant the natural right to sue the equipment supplier for damages in case of a nuclear mishap due to a defect in the equipment or services.

The right to sue kicks in even if an employee of the equipment supplier causes the mishap with a mala fide intent. The law causes the equipment supplier to take extra insurance cover, which is added to the project cost.

The Russians have been able to get ahead, while European and American companies are stuck over the Act.

French firm Areva wants to build six nuclear plants of 1,600 MW capacity each at Jaitapur, Maharashtra, for the Nuclear Power Corporation of India. The cost of the first two plants is expected to be ₹1,20,000 crore, or ₹37.50 crore per MW. In contrast, two plants of 700 MW each, that NPCIL plans to build at Chutka, Madhya Pradesh, are estimated to cost ₹16,550 crore, or ₹11.80 crore/MW.

The Areva plants, with a 60-year operating life, would be viable at a tariff of ₹9.18/kWh. Quoting reports, WANO says in its country update that the Department of Atomic Energy is "adamant" that the tariff could not exceed ₹6.5/kWh.

Source- The Hindu


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