‘India considering allowing foreign investment in nuclear power’ – Times of India

New Delhi: India is considering lifting the ban on foreign investment in its nuclear power Allowing greater participation by industry and domestic private firms, two government sources told Reuters, as part of a push for clean energy.
The measures have been recommended by a government panel set up by the think-tank NITI Aayog Which is presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Under India’s Atomic Energy Act of 1962, the government plays a central role in developing and running nuclear power stations. Domestic private companies are allowed to participate as “junior equity partners” by supplying components and helping to manufacture them.
The panel has recommended changes to the Act and India’s foreign investment policies to allow private companies, both domestic and foreign, to complement nuclear power generation by public companies.
It aims to reduce carbon emissions and nuclear is in focus because it can supply energy 24/7, unlike solar power, said the officials, who declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak to the media. Gave.
Department of Atomic Energy has previously said that a number of foreign companies, including Westinghouse Electric, GE-Hitachi, Electricite de France and Rosatom, are interested in participating in the country’s nuclear power projects as technology partners, suppliers, contractors and service providers.
India does not allow foreign investment in the nuclear power sector.
The emphasis was on private participation through small modular reactors (SMRs) to fast-track nuclear power generation, which accounts for 3% of India’s total electricity generation, officials said. Coal burns three-quarters of it.
The Department of Atomic Energy, which works directly under the prime minister, and NITI Aayog did not respond to emails and messages seeking comment.
Factory-built and ready-to-shift, each SMR produces up to 300 megawatts (MW) and requires less capital, time and land than conventional reactors. They can also be safely deployed in populated areas, officials said.
State-run Nuclear Power Corp of India Limited (NPCIL) and Bhartiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam are the only two nuclear power generators in India. Thermal power company NTPC and oil marketing firm Indian Oil Corp, both controlled by the government, have partnered with NPCIL for nuclear power.
Union minister Jitendra Singh had said in November that the country should explore participation of private players in developing SMRs. In the same month, the Department of Atomic Energy held closed-door discussions with domestic and global industry players who showed significant interest, an official said.
“With the right policy incentives, we see the private sector making significant deployments in the country,” the official said.
Officials said the recommendations would later be submitted to Modi’s office, without giving a time frame.
The government panel has also recommended replacing old coal-fired plants with SMRs, sources have told Reuters, amid proposals to amend its electricity policy to not add any new coal-fired power plants.
India’s current nuclear power capacity is 6,780 MW and it is adding 21 more units with a capacity of 7,000 MW by 2031.
The country is a signatory to international conventions on nuclear safety and must ensure that private companies adhere to the standards. India imports uranium fuel for nuclear plants from Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, France and Canada under bilateral agreements.