India’s G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant on Tuesday called for an “unfettered access” to nuclear technology from the US to build small modular reactors (SMR) in the country.

He also said the private sector needs to be allowed into the atomic energy sector to take advantage of the more efficient SMRs. “India also needs to work with the US so that it is provided unfettered access to cutting edge technology by granting general authorisation to India,” Kant said addressing a session at the energy transition working group of G20 meeting here.

“We should create an ability to co-produce SMRs in the US and India, and further bring down their costs,” Kant said adding that the initiative can be a win-win situation for both countries and will radically reduce time, cost overruns and and capex.

The career bureaucrat-turned-Sherpa said such an access will ultimately lead to manufacturing of SMRs in India and their export also.

It can be noted that India has struggled on the nuclear energy expansion front with big plants like the one at Jaitapur being built with French cooperation yet to take off.

Meanwhile, on the domestic front, Kant pitched for allowing the private sector in the atomic energy space for SMRs.

“Private sector participation needs to be allowed in the atomic energy sector for SMRs to take advantage of higher efficiencies,” he said, adding that state discoms should also build such plants of up to 300 MW capacity with help of the private sector.

The atomic energy regulatory board has to pitch in with needful regulations for timely execution of such projects, he said.

Advantages of SMRs lie in the speed of installation and cost savings, enhanced safety, flexibility of installation, base load power in support of renewables and better waste management, he said.

This is the time for policy changes to ensure that modular reactors are installed in India in a manner wherein installation is increased and cost is saved, he said.