Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor to be commissioned in 2022
On September 22, 2020, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Atomic Energy and Space Shri Jitendra Singh in a written reply said that the Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor is to be commissioned by October 2022.
The reactor was constructed by Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited (BHAVINI). When commissioned, the reactor will add 500 MW of power to the national grid. The commissioning of the reactor is getting delayed due to technical issues.
About the Reactor
The reactor is being constructed a the Kalpakkam Atomic Power Station located near Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (ICGAR) is building the reactor. The reactor was planned to be commissioned in 2012.
The reactor is a pool-type reactor. These are reactors whose core are immersed in liquid, usually water.
Special Features of the reactor
The reactor has negative void coefficient and hence ensures high level of nuclear safety. In simple terms, when the reactor overheats, the speed of fission chain reaction decreases. This will lower temperature and power level.
Liquid Sodium is used as coolant in the reactor. This is an additional safety feature.
India’s three Stage Nuclear Programme
The programme was formulated by Homi Bhabha with the use of thorium and uranium reserves found in Monazite sands of coastal regions of India. The main objective of the programme is to use Thorium reserves in India in meeting energy requirements. The Indo-US Nuclear deal has contributed to a huge success towards the three-stage Nuclear Power Programme.
The stages in the programme are as follows
- Stage 1: Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor
- Stage 2: Fast Breeder Reactor
- Stage 3: Thorium based reactor
Currently, India is in its third stage of the programme using Thorium based reactors.
Thorium reserves in India
Thorium reserves in India contribute to just 1%-2% of global Uranium reserves. However, it contributes to 25% of world known Thorium reserves.