India considers removing restrictions on foreign investment in its nuclear power business | Business Upturn

India considers removing restrictions on foreign investment in its nuclear power business

India is considering removing a restriction on foreign investment in its nuclear power business and allowing greater participation by domestic private enterprises, two government sources told Reuters, as part of a push for greener energy.

The steps were proposed by a government panel set up by the think tank Niti Aayog, which is led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The government of India is central to the development and operation of nuclear power plants under the Atomic Energy Act of 1962.

The government panel, which was established by the think tank Niti Aayog has proposed the steps.

The government has a major influence on the creation and management of nuclear power plants in India under the Atomic Energy Act of 1962. Domestic private companies are permitted to take part as “junior equity partners” by contributing materials and aiding in construction.

In order for local and international private enterprises to supplement nuclear power generation by public corporations, the panel has suggested revisions to the act and to India’s foreign investment rules.

For local and international private companies to supplement public companies’ nuclear power output, the panel has suggested modifications to the act and to India’s foreign investment regulations.

The officials, who declined to be identified because they were not permitted to speak to the media, said the goal is to cut carbon emissions and that nuclear is a focus because it can deliver electricity continuously, unlike solar energy.

Several foreign corporations, including Westinghouse Electric, GE Hitachi, Electricite de France, and Rosatom have previously expressed interest in working with the United States on nuclear power projects as technology partners, suppliers, contractors and service providers.

Foreign investment is not permitted in India’s nuclear power industry.

The emphasis, according to the officials, is on private engagement through small modular reactors (SMRs) to expedite the creation of nuclear energy, which makes about 3% of India’s overall power production. Three halves of it is burned by coal.

Emails and messages requesting comment were not answered by the Department of Atomic Energy or Niti Aaayog, both of which report directly to the Prime Minister.

Each SMR produces up to 300 megawatts (MW) and requires less money, time, and space than traditional reactors since it is factory-built and ready to shift. According to the authority, they may be used securely in inhabited regions as well.

The only two nuclear power plants in India are owned and operated by the government, namely Nuclear Power Corp 

of India Ltd. (NPCIL) and Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam. Nuclear power collabrations have been established with NPCIL by the government-controlled thermal power utility NTPC and oil marketing company Indian Oil Corp.

“With the right policy push, we see the private sector taking up significant deployment in the country,” the official added.

Jitendra Singh, the Indian minister in charge of nuclear energy, suggested in November that the nation look at private companies’ involvement in SMR development. According to one of the officials, the atomic energy department had private meetings in the same month with major participants in the local and international industries.

India now has nuclear power capacity of 6,780 MW, and by 2031, it will have 21 more units with 7,000 MW capacity. The nation must guarantee that private enterprises adhere to requirements since it has ratified international nuclear safety accords.

In accordance with bilateral agreements, India imports uranium fuel for nuclear facilities from France,    Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Canada.

The authorities did not provide a deadline but stated that the recommendations will then be delivered to Modi’s office. In addition to recommending SMRs to replace outdated coal-fired power plants, the government panel also suggested changing its electricity policy to prohibit the construction of any new coal-fired power stations, sources told Reuters.