India’s first commercial fast breeder reactor — the 500 MWe Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) — is in an advanced stage of completion at Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu, chairman, Atomic Energy Commission, R.K. Sinha said.

“All the major equipment of the PFBR have been erected and the loading of the dummy fuels in peripheral locations is in progress,” he told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century at St. Petersburg, Russia on last Friday. Indigenously developed mixed-oxide type fuel pins for the PFBR’s first core were under manufacture and delivery.

When contacted, Prabhat Kumar, chairman and managing director, Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited (BHAVINI) said 95 per cent of the PFBR construction had been completed. “We are now heading towards the final erection, integration and commissioning of the reactor. The reactor will go critical by September 2014,” he said.

The Nuclear Fuel Complex, Hyderabad, is manufacturing the reactor’s fuel bundles and they are being assembled in a workshop at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research at Kalpakkam.

The Centre had sanctioned Rs. 5,677 crore for building the PFBR and “we will definitely build the reactor within that amount” Mr. Kumar asserted. The original cost of the project was Rs. 3,492 crore and it was revised to Rs. 5,677 crore. Electricity generated from the PFBR would be sold to the State Electricity Boards at Rs. 4.44 a unit. BHAVINI builds the breeder reactors in India.

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