India's first Fast Breeder Reactor to cost Rs 2,177-cr more

T. E. Raja Simhan Kalpakkam | Updated on April 30, 2011

Dr Prabhat Kumar, Director (Construction), Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd, (Bhavini), and Project Director, PFBR Project. — (file photo)

500 MW for Kalpakkam station to be ready next year

The final cost of the 500 MW nuclear power plant — the Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) — at Kalpakkam will be Rs 5,677 crore, which is an increase of 62 per cent over the estimated initial cost of Rs 3,500 crore.

The PFBR is expected to be commissioned next year, according to Dr Prabhat Kumar, Director (Construction), Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd, (Bhavini) and Project Director, PFBR Project.

The cost escalation was mainly due to the increase in the cost of raw materials, construction of residential colony and also some design changes after the 2004 tsunami. The cost per MW will be Rs 11 crore, he told newspersons at IGCAR at Kalpakkam, 50 km south of Chennai.

Cost high

Mr Prabhat said the cost was high as this was a single unit, while in future when the CBFR (commercial fast breeder reactor) is put in multiple locations, the cost could be much lower. “We are working with designers to reduce the cost of development,” he said.

The power generated would be fed into the Central grid and thereafter, discussions would be held with different States to ascertain their requirements.

Out of the total cost of PFBR, 80 per cent was funded by the Government and the rest from borrowings, he said.

The prototype FBR can produce and use its own nuclear fuel. According to Dr Baldev Raj, Director, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, the sites for two FBRs have been identified in Kalpakkam, while the other two units can be set up anywhere in the country. They would go critical by 2020. Once the six are commissioned, the future FBRs will be of 1,000 MW capacity, he said.

A breeder reactor is one that breeds more material for a nuclear fission reaction than it consumed, he said.

Effects on Ecosystem

Dr Raj, who retired today as Director of IGCAR, said before the tsunami that affected the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in Japan, a number of States were willing to set up nuclear power plants.

However, after the tsunami, the States are having a re-think, considering its effect on the entire ecosystem.


Speaking about the safety features of IGCAR-designed PFBR, Dr Raj said it has “active and passive” features.

The reactor can be shut down immediately. Even if all control and safety rods (CSR) and one diverse safety rod fail, or if all diverse safety rods and two CSRs fail, the reactor can be shut down within one second, he said.

Published on April 30, 2011

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