Norms relaxed for how contractors can work at Kudankulam nuclear plant

A policeman walks on a beach near Kudankulam nuclear power project (photo: Reuters)
The Nuclear Power Corporation of India has relaxed pre-qualification requirement for main civil works for the fifth and sixth units of Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu, allowing contractors with experience in building “commercial complex” to take part in bids.

Last year, the corporation had allowed those with experience of building a “bridge” to take part in the tender for construction.

In 2016, a contractor had to have experience of work in nuclear power plant, heavy industrial establishment, thermal or hydro power plant, ports, metros or airport terminals. By 2018, it was diluted to include even construction of bridges besides the earlier qualification.

The NPCIL chairman and corporate communication team were unavailable for a comment.

The pre-qualification criteria also had mandatory quantity qualification which has been diluted in the three categories of reinforced concrete quantity, formwork erection and fabrication and placement of reinforcement steel.

In order to have a strong backing for contractors, the tender conditions in 2016 for main plant civil works (MPCW) for the third and fourth units asked for bidders to have bank consent for working capital equivalent to 10 per cent value of the tender. Later in 2018, this was further tightened to 20 per cent value of tender for Gorakhpur Haryana Anu Vidyut Pariyojana (GHAVP) first and second units’ main plant works. However, this has been brought down again in the latest tender.

The tender floated for the fifth and sixth units require completion of construction works in 64 months.

The qualification requires bidder to have one completed work, costing not less than the amount equal to 60 per cent of the estimated cost put to tender or two completed works, each costing not less than the amount equal to 35 per cent of the estimated cost put to tender. Alternatively, three completed works, each costing not less than the amount equal to 25 per cent of the estimated cost put to tender.

NPCIL had in June 2017 signed a General Framework Agreement (GFA) for setting up two additional units of 1000 MW each at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu, called the fifth and the sixth units with Atomstroyexport (ASE) of Russian Federation in June 2017. Various tender and design works are different stages of development.

The Kudankulam nuclear power plant is the largest nuclear power station in India, situated in Koodankulam in the Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu. Its first unit of 1000 MW was synchronised with the southern grid on October 22, 2013

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