Give an account of growth and development of nuclear science and technology in India. What is advantage of fast breeder reactor programme in India?

Nuclear power ranks fifth in terms of the largest source of electricity in India after coal-based plant, gas-based plant, hydroelectricity, and wind power. Homi Jehangir Bhabha is the man whose vision made India self-reliant in the field of nuclear energy. Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited and BHAVINI Vidyut Nigam is responsible for constructing and operating India’s commercial nuclear power plants.

Growth and development

  • In 1901, the Geological Survey of India (GSI) first discovered India’s potential in the field of deposits of radioactive ores like pitchblende, uranium, and thorianite.
  • In 1930, popular scientists like Meghnad Saha, Homi J. Bhabha, Daulat Singh Kothari, and R. S. Krishnan conducted research operation on that field.
  • Homi J. Bhabha established a research school at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. In 1939, Meghnad Saha realized the significance of the discovery of nuclear fission.
  • In 1954, the formation of the Department of Atomic Energy took place.
  • In 1963, the first nuclear power station in India was set up in Tarapore, Maharashtra with the help of the USA.
  • In 1988, the Kudankulam nuclear power station was established with the help of the Soviet Union.
  • In 1950 Dr. Homi Bhabha formulated a three-stage nuclear power program i.e. uranium fuelled Pressurized Heavy-water Reactors, Fast Breeder Reactors, Advanced nuclear power systems.

Fast Breeder Reactor

A Fast Breeder Nuclear Reactor uses fast neutron to generate more nuclear fuels while generating power. It enhanced the efficiency of the use of resources. It uses a mixed oxide fuel of 20% plutonium dioxide and 80% uranium dioxide.

Advantage

  • The heat developed per unit volume of the core is less.
  • It is easy to control.
  • It provides greater inherent safety.
  • Moderator is not needed for slowing down neutrons.

Comment

India has already improved a lot in the field of nuclear technology. Nuclear technology has great potential for the future and it can help India by providing a sustainable source energy resource.

Question for UPSC Mains:
Give an account of growth and development of nuclear science and technology in India. What is advantage of fast breeder reactor programme in India? (Answer in 250 words)

Published: October 31, 2017 | Modified:September 8, 2020

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