Tapping its abundant thorium reserves, the Government has decided to commence the construction of 300-MW thorium-based Advanced Heavy Water Reactor in the next 18 months, a senior official said on Tuesday.
“Under the third stage of nuclear programme based on thorium utilisation, a reactor of 300 MW will be constructed in a year and a half from now..,” Kalpakkam-based Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research Director, Mr S.C. Chetal, told reporters here.
“The work for that will commence in the next Five-Year Plan,” he said on the sidelines of a function.
According to Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), the currently known thorium reserves in India amount to 3,58,000 GWe-yr of electrical energy and can “easily meet the energy requirements during the next century and beyond.”
Mr Chetal said, a technology to separate uranium from thorium was being developed by BARC in the third phase of its nuclear programme.
India was also having collaboration with France and the US.
“We will have reactors at different parts of the country... at Jaitapur in Maharashtra with the help of the French (1,650 MW) and with US, sites are being identified and target for nuclear energy is 20,000 MW. Today we have 4,780 MW,” he said.
Asked whether States were keen to set up nuclear power facilities, he replied in the affirmative.
“In fact, the rush is much from various States which are not able to fulfil (energy) requirements.
For example, we have potential sites at Hisar in Haryana and sites in Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal. We have demand from every State.”
A large part of construction of India's first Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor at Kalpakkam had been completed. .
“As of last month, 81.5 per cent of the construction is over,” Mr Prabhat Kumar, Project Director, Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd, said.