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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Deal Said Near on India Plant

NEW DELHI -- Russia and India are nearing agreement on the construction of a 2,000-megawatt nuclear power project in southern India which was first proposed in 1988, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Davydov said Monday.

Davydov told a news conference in the Indian capital that the nuclear plant would be built in the town of Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu state.

"We are quite near to concluding final agreement with India about this project. This is in two blocks, one million kilowatts each, and the type is lightwater reactor," Davydov said.

The project was first proposed in 1988 during a visit to India by former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev.

A Russian official who asked not to be identified said the project languished following the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Davydov said he did not have the exact cost of the project but Russia would offer credit to India to pay for it.

Davydov was on a five-day visit to India to promote trade between the two countries. He was scheduled to meet Indian Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, as well as India's foreign and finance ministers.

Davydov said there was the potential for increased Indian sales to Russia. Russia already imports $50 billion worth of goods every year from India.

Between April 1990 and March 1993, India's trade with the former Soviet republics dropped almost 90 percent as the breakup disrupted commercial ties, according to official Indian estimates.

Davydov's visit to the Indian capital came a week after that of Russian Defense Minister Igor Rodionov.

During Rodionov's visit, New Delhi and Moscow discussed but failed to sign an agreement, reported to be worth $1.8 billion, on the sale of 40 multi-purpose Sukhoi Su-30 warplanes.