"We are delighted that both the Russian president and Indian prime minister cited our cooperation in the nuclear industry as an example for building similar ties in other sectors.
We have completed all construction activities at the first Kudankulam generating unit and have begun pre-commissioning tests. We believe we will be able to launch hot functional testing in early January and then reach the minimum controlled power level by the end of the first quarter of 2011. Within a maximum of another twelve months, the second power unit will come on line, too. Its construction is mostly finished and we are in the final phase of pre-operational testing.
The key contractual terms have been agreed for the third and fourth Kudankulam units. Today we have reached agreement on basic credit terms. This fundamental pre-requisite is being negotiated by the respective finance ministries of the two countries. They have agreed that the credit will be extended on the same terms as applied to the first and second power units.
Our Indian partners have confirmed their commitment to the roadmap according to which we are to build nuclear facilities on three sites in India. We expect, and it has been duly confirmed, that the Indian government will soon finalise its approval of the allocation of a third construction site. Currently, we have Kudankulam, with six to eight generating units, to build. We have been given another site in West Bengal, near Kolkata. And a third one is being reviewed by the government. Each site will accommodate at least six power generating units. All in all, there will be at least 18 units.
Today we have also signed a memorandum to expand our research and development collaboration to design reactors of the next generation, so-called fast-neutron reactors. Both Russia and India have made serious progress in this area.
We are very interested in India's work on the so-called thorium cycle, because India has the world's biggest thorium reserves and this could become an essential component for fast-neutron technology.”