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Home News Power Sector News India's first fast breeder reactor to be ready by 2010 at kalpakkam

India's first fast breeder reactor to be ready by 2010 at kalpakkam

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KalpakkamAfter over two decades of work, India's first nuclear reactor that will breed more fuel than it consumes will be ready next year at the Kalpakkam nuclear complex.The nuclear complex is a hive of activity now as the 4,000-odd experts who are designing and building the 500-MW prototype fast breeder reactor (PFBR) can finally foresee when it will be ready.

A breeder reactor is one that breeds more material for a nuclear fission reaction than it consumes, so that the reaction - that ultimately produces electricity - can continue. If all goes well, the Rs.35 billion (Rs.3,500 crore/$700 million) project promoted by Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd (Bhavini) will become the crowning glory for the experts past and present at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) at the complex that already houses four nuclear power reactors.

"The project is interestingly poised. Civil construction is nearing completion. Most of the reactor components are at the site and deliveries of other equipment are expected soon," IGCAR Director Baldev Raj said.

Officials are hopeful of getting the necessary clearances from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) this month to erect the main vessel and other equipments. Last June, the huge safety vessel (200 tonnes, 13 metres in diameter and 13 metres in depth) was lowered into the reactor vault.

Reeling off the equipment that has been received - safety vessel, main vessel, thermal insulation, thermal baffle, five sodium pumps, four argon buffer tanks, grid plate and others - Kumar listed the items to be received, such as inner vessel, roof slabs for the reactor building, compressed air system and nitrogen supply system.

Around 175 tonnes of solid sodium in 98 tankers have been imported from France and out of that 75 tonnes have been transferred to the sodium tanks. Civil works to house power generation equipment like turbine generator and facilities like sea water pump house, sea water intake and others have started and by this March switchyard, auxiliary power and outfall structures will be ready.

Confident that the reactor would start generating power some time in 2010, Kumar added a rider: "There may be some surprises as the project is the first of its kind in many ways". As the project itself is first of its kind in India clearance for lowering of the safety vessel was obtained first. He added: "Each and every weld point in reactor equipment has to be inspected and safety certified. It is dangerous to ease fabrication and welding processes."

Source : Hindu


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