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“Focus on developing technology with features”

Special Correspondent
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Marching ahead: Baldev Raj, Director, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Energy, presenting a degree certificate to a student at Mohamed Sathak Engineering College in Kilakarai on Saturday. — Photo: L. Balachandar
Marching ahead: Baldev Raj, Director, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Energy, presenting a degree certificate to a student at Mohamed Sathak Engineering College in Kilakarai on Saturday. — Photo: L. Balachandar

Baldev Raj, Distinguished Scientist and Director, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Kalpakkam said India had embarked upon the development of Fast Breeder Reactor (FBR) technology with advanced features towards economy and enhanced safety. Delivering the graduation day address at the Mohamed Sathak Engineering College at Kilakarai near here on Saturday, he said the country had a rich operating experience of 23 years from its test reactor, Fast Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR) of 40 MWt capacity, which was combined with rigorous and comprehensive research and development (R&D) in launching the 500 MWe Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR). The construction of PFBR was also in progress. Having developed the technology, the country was embarking on the development of FBR technology with advance features.

Mr. Raj said that in the fuel cycle front also, the successful experience from reprocessing of high burn up carbide fuel had given confidence for taking up the fuel cycle facilities in industrial scale. The key ingredients for the successful pursuit of FBR programme were well planned science based technologies undertaken by covering the domains of structural mechanics, thermal hydraulics, fluid dynamics testing & evaluation, precision manufacturing, material science and engineering, chemistry of fuels and sodium instrumentation and control, sophisticated sensors, safety research, separation chemistry, simulation and computer modelling etc.

“We are working on Accelerator Driven System (ADS) and the fusion power. In the ADS, high energy proton beam generates neutrons directly through spoliation reaction in a non-fertile and non-fissile element like lead. A sub critical blanket with lesser fissile requirement will further amplify this external neutron source as well as energy,” he said.

Developing of such a system, which was already in progress in the Department of Atomic Energy, offered the promise of shorter doubling time with thorium-uranium systems. The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project had also been launched by advanced countries to explore the possibility of harnessing fusion power. India had recently joined as a full partner in this mega initiative.

Paying glowing tributes to Homi J. Bhabha, Vikram Sarabhai and J.N. Tata, Mr. Raj said if India was recognised for what it had achieved over the years in atomic research if was because of these trio, who devoted much of energy and resources towards making the country strong.

S.M. Hamid Abdul Quadir, Chairman, S.M. Yousuf, Executive Director, MS. Trust, Syed Abu Thaheer, Principal spoke.

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