Russia is offering a 30-percent discount on the $2-billion price tag for each of its new nuclear reactors under discussions for sale to India. Much of the equipment and components for the reactors are proposed to be manufactured in India.
Russians are also open to depute its nuclear fuel firm, TVEL Corporation, to deliver uranium not just to the Russian-built stations, but for existing heavy-water units in the country as well, including the Tarapur station.
India has promised the Russians an increased role in the sector. Apart from the agreement signed for four additional reactors at Kudankulam, where two reactors are already under construction, talks have been initiated for building a seventh and eighth reactor units through Russian assistance at the same site. The Russians are also trying hard for earmarking at least one more new site, other than Kudankulam, for setting up Russian design reactors.
Even as the price of each reactor is $2 billion, the Russians have offered the discount based on plans to start serial production of reactors for the Indian nuclear industry. Much of the equipment and components are proposed to be manufactured in India, thereby bringing down costs. After factoring in the discount, the cost of construction for a mega watt (MW) for each new reactor comes to roughly $15 millions (Rs.7 crores).
In the case of first two ‘VVER-1000’ units that are currently under construction at Koodankulam, the total construction cost was estimated at $2.6 billion. At current exchange rates, it translates to around Rs 6.5 crore/ MW. The Russian Government had provided India with a long-term credit, which covers almost half of the cost of the first two units. NPCIL anticipates that the first Kudankulam unit will be able to sell power at less than Rs 2.50 a unit (kilowatt hour), once it becomes operational.
India and Russia signed an inter-governmental agreement for cooperation on the construction of four additional reactors at Kudankulam on 5thDecember, 2008.
They also signed a protocol on fuel supplies, with TVEL agreeing to deliver fuel worth $700 million to India. These deals include an assurance of uranium supplies for a number of existing Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors, including uranium dioxide pellets for the Tarapur station.