India Moving Away From Russia To US For Nuclear Reactors, Space Research
CHENNAI, (IANS) – Nuclear and space are two strategic sectors in which India and the US agreed to work together recently.
While the two countries will work on the development of next-generation small modular reactor technologies for domestic and export markets, in the space field, the US will fly Indian astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) next year.
The proposed spaceflight mission is in addition to the NISAR satellite built by the two countries and is to be launched by India next year.
In the nuclear power field, small modular reactors are a new development. Small modular reactors are the ones that are factory-made compact with less than 300 MW capacity.
For global nuclear power plant makers, small is now beautiful and they are looking at populating their small modular reactors across the world.
While India will house six Rosatom, Russia’s nuclear reactors, in Tamil Nadu — two are already generating power and four are under construction — the US company Westinghouse Electric Company is negotiating with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd to set up six atomic power stations in India.
The US Department of Energy and India’s Department of Atomic Energy are having intense consultations for facilitating the opportunities for WEC to develop a techno-commercial offer for the Kovvada nuclear project in India.
The US also reaffirmed its support for India’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group and commits to continue engagement with like-minded partners to advance this goal.
That apart, the two democratic countries have bilateral cooperation on cutting-edge scientific infrastructure, including a $140 million in-kind contribution from India’s Department of Atomic Energy to the US Department of Energy’s Fermi National Laboratory toward collaborative development of the Proton Improvement Plan-II Accelerator, for the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility — the first and largest international research facility on American soil.
The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory being built in Maharashtra is also an Indo-US initiative in the field of astronomy. Forty years after Russia carried an Indian to space in its spacecraft, the US will be doing that to the International Space Station.
The space agencies of two countries – the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will develop a strategic framework for human spaceflight cooperation by the end of 2023.
NASA will provide advanced training to Indian astronauts at the Johnson Space Center in Houston with the goal of mounting a joint effort to the International Space Station in 2024. It may be recalled that it was Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma who had traveled to space in a Russian rocket in 1984.
Be that as it may, the other Indo-US joint space program NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar — an earth observation satellite — will be orbited by an Indian rocket next year from the Sriharikota rocket port in Andhra Pradesh.
The NISAR is an earth observation satellite jointly built by NASA and ISRO. The satellite has already reached India from the US.
India also signed the Artemis Accords — it was the 27th nation to do so — which advance a common vision of space exploration.