- The country’s first indigenously developed 500-megawatt (mw) prototype fast breeder reactor at Kalpakkam in Tamil Nadu is expected to achieve criticality next year.
Details of the reactor:
- The project, which was earlier expected to be commissioned in 2012, has missed several deadlines.
- The indigenously developed prototype fast breeder reactor of 500 mw is now under going sodium commissioning.
- Achieving criticality means that the reactor is fully operational and safe.
About Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR)
- The Kalpakkam PFBR is using uranium-238 not thorium, to breed new fissile material, in a sodium-cooled fast reactor design.
- The power island of this project is being engineered by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, largest power equipment utility of India.
- The surplus plutonium (or uranium-233 for thorium reactors) from each fast reactor can be used to set up more such reactors and grow the nuclear capacity in tune with India’s needs for power.
- India has the capability to use thorium cycle based processes to extract nuclear fuel.
- This is of special significance to the Indian nuclear power generation strategy as India has one of the world’s largest reserves of thorium, which could provide power for more than 10,000 year.
- Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam (Bhavini), a public sector company under DAE, has been given the responsibility to build the fast breeder reactors in the country.