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India’s fast nuclear reactors to be redesigned to cut costs

IGCARScientists and engineers at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) are hoping to save around Rs.5 billion (Rs.500 crore or $104 million) by modifying the design of four fast reactors on the anvil..

for nuclear power plants. “The proposed reactors are going to be different in many ways from the prototype fast breeder reactor (PFBR) designed by us and which are under construction,” IGCAR director Baldev Raj told IANS. A breeder reactor is one that breeds more material for a nuclear fission reaction than it consumes, so that the reaction – that ultimately produces electricity – can continue.

The Indian fast reactors will be fuelled by a blend of plutonium and uranium oxide. While the reactor will use fission plutonium for power production, it will also breed more plutonium than what it uses from the natural uranium. The surplus plutonium from each fast reactor can be used to set up more such reactors and grow the nuclear capacity in tune with India’s needs.
These reactors are also called fast spectrum reactors since the neutrons coming from the fission will not be moderated. Two of the proposed reactors will come up in Kalpakkam, the site for which has been approved, while the location for the remaining two is yet to be finalized.