Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor
|Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor|
|Construction cost||₹56 770 000 000|
|As of July 2012|
The Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) is a 500MWe fast breeder nuclear reactor presently being constructed in Kalpakkam, India. The Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) is responsible for the design of this reactor. As of 2007 the reactor was expected to begin functioning in 2010. As of April 2011, it was expected to be commissioned in 2012. As of July 2012, it was expected to begin operations in 2013. As of February 2013, it was expected to begin operations in September 2014. Total costs, originally estimated at 3500 crore (35 billion) Rupees are now estimated at 5,677 crore (56 billion) Rs. India has a strong interest of proving the viability of this reactor type, since it can use the thorium fuel cycle and the world's second largest proven reserves of thorium are situated in India. 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 design of this reactor was started in the 1980s.
The reactor will use sodium as the coolant. It shall generate electrical power of 500MW. It will make use of MOX fuel, a mixture of PuO
2 and UO
2. A fuel burnup of 100GWd/t is expected. It will have an operational life of 40 years.
The fact that PFBR will be cooled by liquid sodium creates additional safety requirements to isolate the coolant from the environment, since sodium explodes if it comes into contact with water and burns when in contact with air. Another hazard associated with the use of sodium as a coolant is the absorption of neutrons to generate the radioactive isotope 24
There are two independent shutdown systems installed, designed to shut the reactor down effectively within a second. The reactor also has decay heat removal systems consisting of four independent circuits of 8MWt capacity each.
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- India's three stage nuclear power programme