India has nuclear plant delays and higher costs and Japan shifting to pro-nuclear policies

1. Commercial operation of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project has been delayed to January, 2013 It is India’s first 1,000MW first unit.

2. Russia has told India that Kudankulam nuclear power plants 3 and 4 would cost “double”, after New Delhi decided that the next two reactors would come under the new civil nuclear liability law, and not be covered by the agreement on Kudankulam 1 and 2.

Russia extending credit lines worth $3.2 billion for Kudankulam 3 and 4 early this year, initial costs had been estimated to be between $ 6 billion and $ 7 billion. This figure could now double.

Moscow had urged New Delhi to recognise Kudankulam 3 and 4 as being grandfathered under the agreement for Kudankulam 1 and 2, and argued that the inter-governmental agreement of 2008, which firms up plans for setting up four additional reactors, was done before the liability law.

3. The SOMAÏR (in Niger and operated by AREVA) mining site recently packaged 3,000th tonne of uranium into drums.

SOMAÏR thereby sets a new annual production record for a second year in a row as 2,700 tonnes of uranium have been produced on the site last year.

4. Japan’s incoming Prime Minister Shinzo Abe suggested Friday he could abandon the current government’s policy of not allowing utilities to build new nuclear reactors.

“We’d like to review how to think about the issue nationwide,” Abe said at a news conference in Yamaguchi Prefecture, referring to the policy aimed at steering the country toward reducing its dependence on nuclear energy following last year’s Fukushima disaster.

Abe, who is set to become Japan’s new prime minister next Wednesday, said the new government will consider whether to allow power companies to build new reactors in light of his Liberal Democratic Party’s stance of determining the country’s future energy mix within the next 10 years.

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