By NITI Aayog, Department of Atomic Energy and Tata Consulting Engineers
SMRs are advanced nuclear reactors with power generation capacities ranging from less than 30 MWe to 300+ MWe. The report by NITI Aayog looks at the role of SMRs in the energy transition, the status of technology development, readiness of supply chains, initiatives to harmonise SMR regulation and the international licensing process, and preparation for international safeguards, as well as the need to de-risk SMR projects to attract investment from private players.
According to the report, SMRs have emerged as preferred nuclear energy options when compared to large reactors because they require a low inventory of nuclear material per reactor, quick fabrication through standardisation, fast realisation, feasibility of deployment at difficult sites, and phased capital expenditure by adding successive batches of SMR modules.
According to the report, it has been observed that venture capital is a poor fit for the “hard” SMR sector. Hence, NITI Aayog has stated that the public and private sectors must work together to identify alternative sources of early-stage finance. Also a robust and technology-neutral policy framework is required for securing private investment, including taxonomies and environmental, social, and governance factors. Further, the report also stated that early implementation of a few demonstration plants for SMR designs can lessen the severity of risk perception, providing impetus for supply chain formation and bringing investment and stability to the industry.