New Delhi: Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Tuesday said India and the US are revamping their strategic partnership to focus on clean energy sectors such as biofuels and hydrogen.

During a meeting with a high-level US delegation led by Deputy Secretary of Energy David M Turk, he also said that India’s commitment to promote its atomic and nuclear programme is not only for providing a major source of clean energy but also a major tool of application in areas like healthcare and agriculture.

“In the next 10 years, India will produce more than three times nuclear power and it is expected to reach 22,480 MW by the year 2031, from the current 6,780 MW, as more nuclear power plants are planned in the future,” Singh, who is the minister for science and technology, and atomic energy, said.

Calling for greater Indo-US cooperation in the field of clean and green energy, Singh said, “India and the United States are revamping their strategic partnership to focus on clean energy sectors such as biofuels and hydrogen.”

Deputy Secretary of Energy Turk, who called on the Union minister here, promised deeper engagement with India in the green hydrogen sector as recently announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech.

He said that it is also imperative for climate change and mitigation related issues.

The two countries have also signed up for the transformation of the US-India gas task force. This will entail an emphasis on the intersectionality between bio-energy, hydrogen and renewable fuels with natural gas.

Noting that gamma irradiation technology for food preservation has already been shared with private players, Singh highlighted that at present, 26 gamma radiation processing plants are operational in the country in private, semi-government and government sectors for irradiation of various products.

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Singh also underlined the proposal for establishing a research reactor on the public-private partnership mode for the production of medical isotopes to provide affordable treatment for cancer and other diseases.

Deputy Secretary Turk assured Singh that the US will deepen its collaboration with India in nuclear energy as there is a lot of complementarities there.

On clean and green energy, Singh said with the rapid introduction of biofuels, renewable energy and green hydrogen, India is well poised to play an important role towards carbon neutrality.

He informed that the government is already encouraging the adaptation of hydrogen fuels and technology for the mobility sector and many industries like steel, cement, and glass manufacturing have already started using hydrogen for heating requirements.

Referring to all-encompassing cooperation in science and technology and academia exchange programmes, Singh said India has proposed to launch a Mission Integrated Bio Refineries where the US is actively supporting the initiative.

Few areas of potential research and development for collaboration in advanced biofuels and renewable chemicals and materials have been identified.

On the coronavirus pandemic front, the US-India Science and technology endowment fund awarded 11 bilateral teams under the category of COVID- 19 Ignition Grants.

They are working on solutions that include novel early diagnostic tests, anti-viral therapy, drug re-purposing, ventilator research, disinfection machines, and sensor-based symptom tracking.

Dwelling on the bilateral artificial intelligence initiative, Singh said a curtain raiser of IUSSTF’s US India Artificial Intelligence Initiative (USI-AI) was held on March 17.

The objective of this initiative is to provide a unique opportunity to both the countries to strengthen their strategic partnership by focusing on AI cooperation in critical areas at the interface of science, technology and society, he said.

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