Describing the India-U.S. nuclear cooperation outlined in the nuclear deal two decades ago as “a crucial matter yet to be resolved,” U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources, Geoffrey R. Pyatt, emphasized a mutual interest in advancing collaboration. He highlighted the importance of addressing established large-scale reactors anticipated in the deal and emerging opportunities in Small and Modular Reactor (SMR) technology.
Expanding on civil nuclear cooperation, Pyatt cited discussions in India, particularly at the India-U.S. Forum, where major Indian companies such as Adani, Tata, Reliance, and Birla expressed keen interest in integrating SMRs into their decarbonization strategies.
Pyatt stressed the necessity for several steps to proceed, including scaling SMR designs for regulatory approval and industrial deployment and revising Indian laws to enable private sector participation in the civil nuclear industry. While acknowledging the time required for these processes, he highlighted the natural alignment of interests between the two nations.
During his visit to India from January 26 to 31, Pyatt engaged in various activities in New Delhi and Hyderabad, including the India-U.S. Forum organized by the Ananta Centre.
Referring to ongoing challenges in implementing the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal, Pyatt mentioned the delay caused by Indian regulations and the absence of a techno-commercial offer to construct six nuclear reactors in Kovvada, Andhra Pradesh, announced eight years prior.
He also noted efforts by companies like Holtec International to deploy their first SMR demonstrator by 2029, underscoring ongoing discussions across government and private sectors.
Due to his prior service at the U.S. Embassy, Pyatt, familiar with India highlighted the significant progress in strategic cooperation between the two countries over the years, emphasizing the removal of nuclear barriers as a pivotal moment.
Discussing clean energy and climate change, Pyatt emphasized the need to diversify clean technology supply chains away from Chinese dominance, suggesting leveraging India’s manufacturing capabilities and labor costs to establish alternative supply chains.
Responding to a query about energy market volatility, Pyatt emphasized the importance of alliances, citing an incident in the Gulf of Aden where the Indian Navy’s intervention rescued a British-operated oil tanker attacked by Iranian-backed militants. He emphasized the role of partnerships, particularly within the “Asian Quad,” in addressing regional security challenges amidst disruptive global dynamics.