The Election Commission (EC) has given go ahead to the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) to sign agreement with Russia for the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Project units III and IV.
The DAE had approached the EC last month as model code of conduct was in place and following the clearance, the deal might be signed soon. The project was delayed over issues related to liability, which was sorted out by both countries during a recent meeting chaired by DAE secretary R K Singh.
According to sources, the EC clearance came last week and the DAE had informed the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL), which operates and runs nuclear power plants in the country, about it. NPCIL is already in talks with Russian counterparts to complete the process.
The unit I of 1,000 MW attained criticality in July last year and commenced electricity generation in October while the unit II of similar capacity is expected to attain criticality by June this year. Built at a cost of Rs.17,000 crore, the plant was using pressurised water technique which was the first of its kind in the country.
Greenpeace, an environmental group, had written to the EC seeking to defer the approval of Koodankulam units 3 & 4 citing reasons that it was being done in undue haste and should be scrutinised.
Greenpeace India Executive Director Samit Aich has said legally the Koodankulam project is on a shaky ground and there is a case pending in the Supreme Court regarding the civil liability of the Russian suppliers at Koodankulam.
Under the banner of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), people in the vicinity of the Koodankulam plant started protesting against the nuclear power plant.
The matter then went to the Supreme Court and the apex court in May last year had given go ahead with 15 conditions on ensuring safety at the facility as well as handling of the spent fuel among others.