TIRUNELVELI: The reason for the exorbitant project cost escalation of the first two units of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) attributed to people’s protest against the project has been proved false, with the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report stating that the total cost escalation of units I & II by around `9,291 crore was instead due to deficiencies in the execution and commissioning of the project.
The first two units with an installed capacity of 1,000 Mwe each scheduled to be commissioned on October 2007 and October 2008 respectively, however, got delayed by 86 months and 101 months respectively not by the people’s struggle against the project at Idinthakarai located around 10-km away from the project site, but by extending ‘undue benefits’ to overseas collaborating partners like the Russian equipment supplier, Atomstroyexport, non-transparency in availing loans to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore from HDFC bank, lapses in fixation of tariff violating the applicable tariff fixing regulations and rules, and inadequate monitoring of the project at the construction stage, besides start-up of commercial operations before getting the required licence to operate from the competent authority.
The CAG report finds fault with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) for elongating the shut down period of Unit I for refueling process from the originally planned period of 60 days to 222 days from June 24, 2015 to January 31, 2016.
This the CAG report said had resulted in a revenue loss of `947.99 crore. The CAG report, tabled in Parliament today, also questioned whether the shutdown of Unit I for refueling work was executed without properly evaluating its technical competency....