India considers allowing private companies to develop nuclear plants

India’s state-controlled nuclear power industry is considering allowing greater participation of private firms. Aiming to develop small modular reactors to help decarbonize industry. India considers private companies to develop nuclear plants.

The country is reviewing its six-decade-old atomic energy law to allow more involvement from non-state companies. As federal atomic energy minister Jitendra Singh said Wednesday in a written reply to questions in parliament. India currently allows private technology and construction in nuclear plants. Operations and fuel management are controlled by federal government companies.

India considers allowing private companies to develop nuclear plants

Discussion about modular reactors, or SMRs, has gained momentum in recent months. India is world’s third-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. Therefore it seeks clean sources of power to reduce its dependence on coal. Moreover coal currently produces about 70% of India’s electricity. The nation has committed to have half its power generation capacity run on clean sources by the end of this decade. Regardless a key milestone in its goal to become net zero by 2070.

Detailed technical talks are underway to assess the feasibility of the SMR technology, and the government is exploring collaboration with other countries for jointly developing such reactors, Singh said.

State-run NTPC Ltd., the country’s largest power producer, has emerged as a nuclear champion. They bet big on SMRs as they’re quicker to build and easier to adjust to grid requirements. They can also serve as an off-grid power solution in remote locations.

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