Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor
|Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor|
Location of Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor in India Tamil Nadu
|Construction cost||₹56 770 000 000|
|Nuclear power station|
|Reactor type||fast breeder|
The Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) is a 500MWe fast breeder nuclear reactor presently being constructed at the Madras Atomic Power Station 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 but now it is expected to achieve first criticality in September 2015. Total costs, originally estimated at 3500 crore (35 billion Rupees, 450 million euros) are now estimated at 5,677 crore (750 million Euros). 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 surplus plutonium (or uranium-233 for thorium reactors) from each fast reactor can be used to set up more such reactors and grow the nuclear capacity in tune with India's needs for power. The PFBR is part of the three-stage nuclear power program.
India has the capability to use thorium cycle based processes to extract nuclear fuel. This is of special significance to the Indian nuclear power generation strategy as India has one of the world's largest reserves of thorium, which could provide power for more than 10,000 years, and perhaps as long as 60,000 years.
The design of this reactor was started in the 1980s.
The reactor will use 1,750 tonnes of 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