What are Small Modular Reactors (SMRs)?

Recently, member of NITI Aayog V K Saraswat suggested the government to focus on setting up small modular reactors (SMRs). This move will help in meeting India’s energy needs and replace the thermal power plants.

Highlights of the suggestion:

  • V K Saraswat also suggested to accelerate nuclear power plant projects, set up under fleet mode production, in order to meet India’s base load requirements at the earliest.
  • Small modular reactors will help in meeting requirements in distributed manner.

About Small modular reactors (SMRs):

Small modular reactors are advanced nuclear reactors, with the power capacity of 300 MW(e) per unit. This equals to 1/3rd of generating capacity of traditional nuclear power reactors.  The nuclear plant is likely to be built in a period of 5 years, under fleet mode. An important aspect of the advanced nuclear reactor is that, it is factory fabricated. It can be operated by any agency. Thus, it would attract larger participation of private sector.

Nuclear Power energy in India:

Currently, 22 reactors are operational in India, with a total capacity of 6,780 MW.  Out of these, 18 reactors are Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors while 4 are Light Water Reactors. Share of nuclear power in overall electricity generation in India was 3.1% in 2020-21. India has planned to enhance the current capacity of 6,780 MW to 22,480 MW by 2031, in line with the net-zero targets.



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