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Business News/ News / World/  India, Finland set to expand ties in quantum computing, nuclear tech

India, Finland set to expand ties in quantum computing, nuclear tech

India’s C-DAC and Finland’s IQM Quantum Computers are expected to sign a MoU to expand cooperation on quantum computing research

Finland minister for foreign trade Ville SkinnariPremium
Finland minister for foreign trade Ville Skinnari

New Delhi: India and Finland are looking to expand ties across a range of cutting-edge technologies including in quantum computing and nuclear energy.

According to persons aware of the matter, India’s Centre for the Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) and Finland’s IQM Quantum Computers are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to expand cooperation on quantum computing research.

C-DAC functions under the ministry of electronics and information technology while IQM is a major player in the quantum computing hardware market. In December last year, IQM signed an MoU with Tech Mahindra to expand research on quantum computing.

In response to a press query from Mint, IQM confirmed that discussions were underway but did not indicate a firm date for the MoU.

Two Finnish research universities, Lappeenranta Technical University and the University of Oulu, are also looking to expand research on quantum technology with Indian partners, according to the people cited above.

Quantum computing is a major priority for India. In 2020, it unveiled the National Quantum Mission with an outlay of 8,000 crore over five years. It hopes to establish 21 quantum hubs and four quantum research centres in the country. MeitY did not respond to a query from Mint.

Nuclear technology will be another focus of this emerging technology partnership between India and Finland. During a press interaction in New Delhi, minister for foreign trade Ville Skinnari said Finland’s prowess in nuclear science could add to India’s energy mix. In particular, Skinnari pointed to small nuclear reactors as another front for cooperation.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), small reactors “are advanced nuclear reactors that have a power capacity of up to 300 MW(e) per unit, which is about one-third of the generating capacity of traditional nuclear power reactors." These small reactors have smaller carbon footprints and can more easily serve locations that cannot be serviced by large power plants. They also offer significantly lower costs and shorter construction times than large nuclear reactors. This makes small reactors particularly suited to the Indian government’s plans, which involve expanding access to power while also executing a pivot to cleaner technologies.

The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) recently stated that it was looking into small nuclear reactors as a replacement for ageing thermal power stations. In November last year, Union minister of state for science and technology Jitendra Singh announced that India would take steps to develop small reactors.

“Dr Jitendra Singh pointed out that as we have already taken steps for clean energy transition with penetration of non-fossil based energy resources and achieving net-zero by 2070, nuclear in terms of base load power can play a big role in the de-carbonization strategy. It is in this context that the role of nuclear energy will be critical for the clean energy transition of not just India but for the entire world," read a release by the PIB.

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Published: 09 Feb 2023, 11:05 PM IST
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