Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor likely to be delayed

The much delayed completion of work on India’s first Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) at Kalpakkam is likely to be completed only by March 2017, according to the Central government. In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State, Dr. Jitendra Singh, said the PFBR is “poised for first criticality by March 2017”. Activities prior to the first approach to criticality are being carried out after obtaining stage-wise clearances by Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), Mr. Singh told the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

However, sources in the Department of Atomic Energy told The Hindu that reaching first criticality might take “a couple of more months from March 2017”.

While the Minister said the PFBR being constructed by the Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited (BHAVINI) is at an advanced stage of commissioning, the source said work on the reactor was being done cautiously. “Since this reactor is a first of its kind, we are carrying out work cautiously with plenty of discussions with regulators,” the official added.

Last year, a parliamentary panel said inordinate delays in the commissioning of the 500-MWe reactor had led to cost escalation of over Rs. 2,000 crore due to delays by industries in delivering components. In December 2015, then Chairman and Managing Director P. Chellapandi said the reactor would start generating power by September this year.

Liquid sodium, a critical component, “will be loaded in another four to five months from today,” the source said. Plutonium-uranium oxide will be used as fuel and 1,750 tonnes of liquid sodium as coolant.

While the Minister says it is poised for criticality by March, DAE sources say it will take more time

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2021 9:19:04 AM |

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