Bhabha Atomic Research Centre is setting up a 30 MW research reactor at Visakhapatnam to meet the demand for high specific activity radioisotopes and carry out extensive research and development in nuclear sector.
Presently, only two research reactors, including 100 MW Dhruva at Tarapur in Maharashtra and 30 KW Kamini at Kalpakkam in Tamil Nadu are operational, while the older six reactors have been decommissioned for various reasons.
“There is a lot of work to be done in the field of radioisotopes. We currently have only two research reactors operational and we will be recommissioning the Apsara reactor by 2018,” Sujay Bhattacharya, Associate Director, Reactor Group at BARC, told PTI.
“But now, as we continue to expand in this area, we felt the need to have one more reactor,” he said.
Some shut down
Reactors, including 1 MW Apsara and 60 MW Canada-India Reactor (CIRUS) reactors were shut down in 2010, while the other reactors like Purnima I, II, and III were decommissioned in 1973, 1986 and 1991, respectively.
Its sixth reactor Zerlina (Zero Energy Reactor for Lattice Investigations and New Assemblies) was decommissioned in 1983.
Bhattacharya said BARC has started working on the new project since 2013 and in 2015 it submitted a detailed report of this 30 MW reactor at Vizag, which will be a special reactor using an enriched uranium-based fuel.
Waiting for approval
“To set up a reactor is a long process. We are awaiting site clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests and other authorities concerned to set up the reactor at Vizag,” Bhattacharya said.
He said this reactor will be useful to meet the country’s demand for high specific activity radioisotopes. “It will also provide facilities for basic and applied research in the development and testing of nuclear fuel and reactor materials,” Bhattacharya said.