Sweden, a member of the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group, is offering New Delhi its niche expertise in nuclear waste management and security as it eyes India's $40 billion civilian nuclear energy market.
"Sweden has considerable expertise in nuclear waste management and areas relating to nuclear security. We are exploring opportunities of partnering with India in this area," Sweden's Ambassador to India Lars-Olof Lindgren told IANS in an interview in New Delhi.
The envoy said a delegation of Swedish companies operating in the area of nuclear technology and safety management came to India this April on an exploratory trip. They held talks with officials of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and also met India's nuclear points man Anil Kakodkar, chief of the Atomic Energy Commission.
The delegation comprised Swedish atomic companies such as Sandpit, Swenson, SKB International Consulting AB, Studbook, ES-consult and Rel con Candlepower AB.
Another Swedish delegation will be coming to India soon to explore opportunities in the nuclear energy area, the envoy said, adding that nuclear technology solutions is a promising area of future cooperation between the two countries.
Swedish companies are also in touch with Indian private companies such as Larsen and Toubro and Bharat Forge which are interested in the production of nuclear power, currently the monopoly of the government in India.
The envoy sought to dispel the impression that Sweden, like other Scandinavian countries, was reluctant to support a consensus for India in the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group - the global cartel that controls global trade in nuclear equipment and materials.
"We consider India as a responsible nuclear power and understand its need for energy and nuclear development. Sweden was never questioning a change in the NSG guidelines," the envoy underlined.
He also outlined possibilities of cooperation in renewable solar and wind energy and clean energy technologies in which Sweden is a pacesetter.
Sweden depends on nuclear power for nearly 50 percent of its energy needs. In a radical departure from its established policy, the Swedish government scrapped a three-decade ban on building new nuclear reactors in February this year, saying it needed to avoid producing more greenhouse gases.
The Swedish government is now planning to replace old reactors with new reactors, the envoy said.
The Indian nuclear power market is estimated to touch $40 billion or Rs.20,000 crore by 2020. Atomic companies from the US, Russia, France and Kazakhstan, the four countries with which India has signed bilateral nuclear pacts, are vying to get a share of the nuclear pie. British companies specializing in nuclear safety and research have also opened contacts with India.