'BHAVINI ready to build two more fast reactors at Kalpakkam'

Last Updated: Thu, Dec 13, 2012 08:10 hrs

Chennai, Dec 13 (IANS) Achieving physical progress of 91 percent in building the India designed 500 MW Rs.5,677-crore prototype fast breeder reactor (PFBR), Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd (BHAVINI) is ready to start work on two more such plants, a top company official said.

"We are planning to hold public hearings for building two more 500-MW fast reactors at Kalpakkam in three months time," Prabhat Kumar, chairman and managing director at BHAVINI, told IANS

"The PFBR has achieved 91 percent physical progress. The reactor is expected to go critical in September 2014 and start commercial operations by March 2015."

Kumar said the additional land for the proposed two reactors will not be much. He said the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report is ready.

A breeder reactor is one that breeds more material for a nuclear fission reaction than it consumes. While the reactor will break up (fission) plutonium for power production, it will also breed more plutonium than it consumes. The original plutonium comes from natural uranium.

The surplus plutonium from each fast reactor can be used to set up more such reactors and grow the nuclear capacity in tune with India's energy needs.

Fast reactors hold the key to India's three-stage nuclear power programme, which comprises pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWRs) at the first stage, fast breeder reactors (FBRs) at second and thorium-based systems at the third stage.

In 1985, India became the sixth country in the world to have such a technology.

Located around 70 km from here, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) designed the PFBR and is in the process of fine tuning the design for two more reactors that has been planned

On PFBR's progress, Kumar expressed satisfaction and said the focus was on erecting the sodium heat exchangers that was expected to be completed soon.

He said all the components were coming up in good shape and they would be erected once they were received at the site.

"We are happy that we are able to meet all the design specifications without any deviations," Kumar said.

According to him, additional safety measures like plugging of any chances of water entry into the reactor building is being taken.

Kumar said that BHAVINI will be drawing around Rs.270 crore from the government in two instalments by the end of this fiscal and has not gone for raising debt of around Rs.1,200 crore.

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