Ending decades-long reliance on Russia, India turns to the United States for nuclear reactors and space research.

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In order to eliminate export controls and enable technology transfer, Modi and Biden urged for increased commercial partnership between the US and Indian corporate sectors along the whole value chain of the space economy.

In New Delhi: India and the US recently decided to collaborate in the strategic fields of nuclear and space. The US will launch Indian astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2019 as the two nations collaborate on the development of next-generation small modular reactor technologies for local and international markets.

The NISAR satellite, which was created by the two nations and will be launched by India next year, would be supplemented by the projected spaceflight mission. Small modular reactors are a recent invention in nuclear power. Small modular reactors are those that are compact and have a capacity of under 300 MW.

Manufacturers of nuclear power equipment, like ROSATOM in Russia, EDF in France, and NuScale Energy in the US, are increasingly focusing on the small modular reactor market. Small is currently attractive, and manufacturers of nuclear power plants are considering populating their small modular reactors all over the world.

Small modular reactors are preferred by manufacturers of nuclear power plants because they have a shorter gestation period, a longer energy generation period, and lower hazards, experts previously told IANS.

According to Director General of ROSATOM Alexey Likhachev, the world’s first land-based small modular reactor (SMR) with RITM-200N is scheduled to be commissioned in the Russian Arctic region in 2028.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden have emphasised the crucial role nuclear energy plays in global efforts to reduce carbon emissions and confirmed that it is a resource that is required to address countries’ demands in relation to the environment, the transition to a clean energy future, and energy security.

The US company Westinghouse Electric Company (WEC) is negotiating with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) to set up six atomic power stations in India, despite the fact that India will house six ROSATOM, Russia’s nuclear reactors, in Tamil Nadu—two of which are already producing electricity and four of which are under construction.

In-depth discussions are taking place between the US Department of Energy and India’s Department of Atomic Energy to help WEC build a techno-commercial offer for the Kovvada nuclear project in India.

The US also pledged to continue working with allies who share its views in order to promote India’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

Aside from that, the two democratic nations collaborate bilaterally on state-of-the-art scientific infrastructure. One example is a $140 million in-kind contribution from the Department of Atomic Energy of India to the US Department of Energy’s Fermi National Laboratory for the joint development of the Proton Improvement Plan-II Accelerator for the Long Baseline Neutrino Facility, the first and largest international research facility on American soil.

Another Indo-US astronomy project is the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), which is being constructed in Maharashtra. The United States will do the same, but to the International Space Station, forty years after Russia sent an Indian into space on one of its rockets.

By the end of 2023, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), two nations’ space agencies, will create a strategic framework for cooperation in human spaceflight.

In order to prepare Indian astronauts for a combined mission to the International Space Station in 2024, NASA will offer advanced training at the Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas. Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma, it may be recalled, was the first person to launch into space with a Russian rocket in 1984.

However, the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR), an earth observation satellite, will be orbited by an Indian rocket from the Sriharikota rocket port in Andhra Pradesh the next year as part of the other Indo-US collaborative space programme. NASA and ISRO worked together to build the NISAR satellite for earth observation. India has already received the satellite from the US.

In order to eliminate export controls and enable technology transfer, Modi and Biden urged for increased commercial partnership between the US and Indian corporate sectors along the whole value chain of the space economy.

India was the 27th country to sign the Artemis Accords, which pursue a shared goal of space exploration.


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