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Fast breeder reactor to start power production from Sept

M Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on January 23, 2018

After years of work involving technology challenges and delays, India's first indigenously designed 500 MW prototype fast breeder reactor will start generating power from September and feed it to the southern power grid.

The unit will roughly generate about 25-30 per cent of its total rated capacity of 500 MW, according to P Chellapandi, Chairman and Managing Director of the Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd (BHAVINI).

BHAVINI, the implementing arm of the Department of Atomic Energy is setting up the PFBR at Kalpakkam, around 75 km from Chennai. The unit is expected to go `critical’ by end of July or early August.

After a few more tests and approval from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, it will start producing a part of its capacity, he told newspersons here today.

The unit will become fully operational in 2016. A breeder reactor uses MOX fuel, which is a combination of plutonium and uranium oxide.

There is enough fuel supply at present, he told newspersons at the national seminar on `Prospects & Challenges of nuclear power and nuclear fuel cycle programme in India’, organised by the Engineering Staff College of India here.

The fuel has been developed by nuclear scientists from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai and Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakam. The PFBR is designed by IGCAR.

India is pursuing a 3-stage, nuclear power programme, linking the fuel cycles of the pressurised heavy water reactors and the sodium cooled fast breeder reactors for judicious utilisation of its modest Uranium and vast Thorium resources.

At present, it is running 21 nuclear power reactors, mostly small pressurised heavy water ones with a total installed capacity of 5,300 MW. It is adding 6 more (4,300 MW) to reach 14,600 MW by 2020.

Published on May 12, 2015

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