The Nuclear Power Corporation of India suffered a loss of a whopping Rs 947.99 crore due to lack of trained manpower that resulted in the delay in restarting a reactor at the Kudankulam plant in 2015, government auditor CAG has said.
The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has said the NPCIL had planned to undertake refuelling of the Unit 1 of the nuclear power plant at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu, built with Russian collaboration, between May and July 2015 when it was shut down for 60 days.
"However, NPCIL belately realised that experience of its own manpower was limited and decided to enter (into) a new contract with Moscow-based ASE for deputation of Russian specialists," the CAG said in its audit report for 2016-17 put on its official website.
A new contract was signed between NPCIL and ASE in August 2015 for engaging specialists at a cost which was 76 per cent more than what it would have incurred had the state- run corporation deployed its own manpower, the audit said.
"As engagement of Russian specialists was considered after the shutdown, NPCIL had no option but to accept higher rate without any scope of significant negotiation in view of time constraint," it said.
The audit also noticed that instead of the planned shutdown of 60 days, the unit was closed for 222 days.
"NPCIL took 162 days more than the estimated 60 days for restarting of Unit 1. The decision to shut down and execute the refuelling work on its own without evaluating and ensuring technical competency before the shutdown was not prudent," the government auditor noted.
The NPCIL management, which responded to the CAG's audit, said it had realised well in advance that technical assistance from Russia will be required and that it had no option but to accept the amount of money demanded by the ASE as it alone was capable of executing the work.
"Though NPCIL claimed that the delay in restarting the plant was due to time taken for repairing various equipment, the fact remains that despite Russian manpower presence at the site, NPCIL took 162 more days for restarting the Unit I which resulted in revenue loss to the tune of Rs 947.99 crore," the auditor said.
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