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Jul 26, 2013

India's First Fast Breeder Reactor - LATEST NEWS

Fast Breeder Reactor (Photo - bharathdefencekavach.com)


India's first commercial fast breeder reactor, the 500 MWe Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR), is almost ready and it would go critical by September next year, it was proposed to build two more PFBRs in Kalpakkam, besides a very large fuel cycle facility to fabricate and reprocess the spent fuel in the coming years. For the power deficit of 412 GWe by 2050 and 1.6 billion tonnes of coal would be required to fill the gap, India has no option but to go for combination of nuclear, solar and wind energy. As India had the world's highest thorium resource, it could be used for generating power for the next 600 years. The thorium had to be converted into a different form, which could be burnt in reactors, the fast reactors could convert thorium into uranium 233 and would enable to build more reactors. Fast reactors were important for realising sustainable energy. The use of plutonium in fast reactor fuels, operation of the fuel at high temperatures, use of liquid sodium as coolant and enriched boron carbide as control material were examples of features of fast reactors that pose challenge to chemists. The safe operation of reactor, reduction in the generation of nuclear waste and similar objectives can all be met only through a sustained R & D programme in chemistry exploiting the knowledge base and expertise available in various academic and research institutions. Future challenges with include the use of pyro-processing schemes for reprocessing the metallic fuels, according to Dr.P.R.Vasudeva Rao, Director, Indira Gandhi Centre For Atomic Research (IGCAR)....   The Hindu

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