Startup plans nuclear fusion plant
Mumbai: Akash Singh, an Indian-origin entrepreneur based out of Silicon Valley, is all set to venture into nuclear fusion by early next year. Singh is working on 'Project Sanlayan', which is supported by a team of international investors. This was revealed at the Bihar Science Conference held early this month.
The project, which will be a first-of-its-kind initiative by any public or private entity in India, aims to commercialise nuclear fusion for power production by 2035. The location for setting up the project in India, however, is yet to be finalised.
"Our objective is to start a nuclear fusion R&D plant in India in early 2021. We want to use the clean energy which will be highly useful for peaceful purposes in India and around the world," Singh said, It assumes significance as the people around the world are still working on such projects and they are likely to become operational in a minimum 15 years from now. For example, the UK government plans to set up a nuclear fusion plant by 2040 and has asked societies/communities to provide land for the same by March.
The Indian government has formed a separate entity to support the private industry in space, named as The Indian National Space Space Promotion and Authorisation Centres (IN-SPACE) to promote and guide private industries in space activities through encouraging policies and a friendly regulatory environment. The question arises if they will do it for the nuclear fusion sector, too?
Interestingly, India can develop technology at 1/15th to 1/20th cost, compared to the western world like it did in the IT sector as well as the space sector in the past. Supported by the Indian government, Anant Technologies has become the first Indian firm to tap the global space markets and it is working on the project jointly with Saturn Satellite.
"It is a momentous occasion for a private initiative in the field of nuclear fusion in India," says Dr Prabhat Ranjan, a nuclear fusion scientist and the former executive director of TIFAC. Ranjan is currently working as the Vice Chancellor at D Y Patil International University in Pune. He is also a mentor of Project Sanlayan. The document 'Technology Vision 2035', which was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on 3 January, 2016, has a mention of the nuclear fusion. Apart from clean and long-term energy, the nuclear fusion project is also likely to contribute to the field of medical isotope and space propulsion.