Kalpakkam FBR to be commissioned in March 2015

ON COURSE: The 500 MWe of the Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) located within the 40-metre tall Reactor Containment Building at Kalpakkam.  

Things are on course for the commissioning of the 500-MWe Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) before the end of this financial year (March 2015) at Kalpakkam. The loading of 1,750 tonnes of liquid sodium into seven loops in the reactor will commence in two weeks from now. Dummy fuel has already been loaded into the reactor. While plutonium-uranium mixed oxide is the reactor’s fuel, liquid sodium is the coolant. The PFBR’s generation of 500 MWe will mark a “Hanuman jump”, as French nuclear scientist George Vendryes put it, from the 13-MWe Fast Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR) currently operational at Kalpakkam.

“The PFBR team is determined to move ahead in compliance with all the requirements specified by the regulatory authorities. We have to ensure that the PFBR operates smoothly and successfully. We have to ensure that this breeder technology is safe, robust and cheap,” declared Prabhat Kumar, Chairman and Managing Director, Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited (BHAVINI).

BHAVINI, a public sector undertaking of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), has been mandated to build a series of breeder reactors to provide energy independence to the country. The Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Kalpakkam, designed and developed the technology for the PFBR. They are called breeder reactors because they breed more fuel than they consume.

Announcing that all electrical systems in the PFBR were operational, Mr. Kumar said: “The PFBR should be commissioned safely without sodium leaking from the system. We have to transfer 1,750 tonnes of sodium from ten tanks to the seven loops. We have completed most of the piping and instrumentation. We have energised most of the equipment. Instruments and sensors are connected to the Control Room. Results of the tests done so far are encouraging. Most of the support systems are fully commissioned and operating satisfactorily. They include raw water system, service water system, air mask system, nitrogen system, argon system etc. All the electrical systems including the switch-yard and battery banks are operational.”

This reactor is different from the fleet of Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRS) already operating in India. Fabrication of gigantic PFBR components involved highly complex technology.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2022 12:15:16 PM |

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