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SCHOTTs Symposium on Safety Tech for Future N reactors

nuclear-symposiumLeading companies and experts involved in India’s ambitious nuclear power development programme and German International Technology Group SCHOTT, a key player in the worldwide nuclear industry got together at a symposium recently in Mumbai


to discuss about ‘Safety Technologies for Future Reactors’ and various other aspects of India’s nuclear energy development programme. The objective of the symposium, organized by SCHOTT, a leading provider of secure and reliable electrical penetrations for safety-critical applications in nuclear power plants worldwide, was to discuss about current and future technologies for the safe operation of nuclear power plants across the globe, including India. Leading scientists and technologists from top organizations, including Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL), Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited (BHAVINI) and Larsen & Toubro, were present at the symposium which also dwelt on expectations from the industry about future partners to India’s civilian nuclear programme.

“This symposium aims to bring together authoritative figures in the Indian nuclear industry to discuss vital developments and build greater understanding of the availability of international technology driven products for the Indian nuclear industry. The symposium will also provide an opportunity to review the cutting-edge technology developed for the continued safe operation of nuclear power plants”, said SCHOTT Electronics Chief Executive Officer GmbH Hermann Ditz.

SCHOTT is a key player in the worldwide nuclear industry, having supplied more than 5,000 Electrical Penetration Assemblies (EPAs) for more than 50 nuclear power plants in the last 40 years.

NPCIL Chairman & Managing Director S. K. Jain of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) said the country’s economy is growing at a  rate of more than 7.0 percent per annum. “In order to meet the country’s rising energy requirements, all energy sources have to be developed and deployed to support the sustainability of long-term economic growth”, he said.

NPCIL Executive Director (Engineering & Procurement) K. B. Dixit said that India had over the past 35 years demonstrated full capability in all facets of building a commercial nuclear power plant.

Sharing his views on the theme, the ‘Future of the Indian Nuclear Industry’, Dixit  said India is well versed in all areas of reactor building, such as siting, designing, manufacturing, construction, operation and maintenance, renovation and modernization, waste management and decommissioning.

He said India has planned an ambitious nuclear program to add 20,000 MW or more by 2020. This large scale deployment scenario in a densely populated country like India lends utmost importance to safety features.

Dixit said, “The sustainability of our long-term economic growth is critically dependent on our ability to meet our energy requirements of the future. When our country grows at a rate of above 7.0 percent per annum, energy becomes a critical issue. All energy sources have to be developed to meet the energy requirements of the country since we do not have the choice. The energy that we generate has to be cost effective and affordable, not only in terms of its first cost, but also in terms of the cost to our environment. Nuclear power is recognized as an important and environmentally benign constituent of the overall energy mix. The future of the Indian nuclear industry is therefore a bright and glowing one. It would be a realistic estimate that India could add more than 20,000 MW of power by 2020.”

“India is committed to the three-stage nuclear power development program involving the use of pressurized heavy water reactors, the fast breeder reactors and the thorium reactors. The country is also focused on capacity addition through imported designs, with indigenous content progressively increasing up to 80 percent,” he added.

Dixit further said, “With a large thorium reserve and accumulated technological and operational expertise over the last 35 years, India is well poised to become a world leader in the nuclear industry. Nonetheless, to support the growth of this industry, there are some challenges that the nation must overcome. These include developing skilled manpower, nurturing a culture of safety and security, coming up with ways to optimize new builds and achieving cost-competitive supply of power to the grid.”

L&T Deputy General Manager Hari Ravindran said, “Collaborative efforts and consolidation of the Indian industry based on domain expertise will help leverage the Indian industry’s strength to meet the scale and speed required by India’s Nuclear Power Programme. This approach will help realize the country’s potential to be a global hub for equipment and services in the ensuing nuclear renaissance.”  His speech touched on the opportunities and challenges for the Indian nuclear power sector supply chain. L&T is a major contributor to the success of the Indian nuclear power programme.

Dr. Oliver Fritz, a Technology Expert from SCHOTT Electronic Packaging in Germany talked about the latest technical developments regarding glass-to-metal sealed (GTMS) feedthroughs. “Glass-to-metal sealed penetrations provide pass-through for power, control and instrumentation cables to the thousands of instruments, control panels, electric motors and many other electric and electronic devices within a nuclear power plant”, Dr. Fritz said. “They maintain the pressure boundary integrity of the containment structure for periods far above 60 years design lifetime and will enhance the safety levels of the new generation of reactor designs”, he added.

Developing skills for the Advanced Reactor Program

As with all countries initiating nuclear programs, developing skilled manpower and nurturing a culture of safety and security is a big challenge. Another vital topic at the symposium was the development of ways to optimize new builds and overcome the absence of experience with new designs in order to achieve cost-competitive supply of power to the grid.

Dr. R. K. Sinha, Director (Reactor Design and Development Group) at BARC, dwelt on the current status and future plans of the Indian Advanced Reactor Programme.

Prabhat Kumar, Project Director at BHAVINI provided an insight into the expectations towards the industries involved in the construction of the first 500 MWe Fast Breeder Reactor (FBR) at Kalpakkam in Tamil Nadu.

He said, “India is committed to a three-stage nuclear power development program involving the use of pressurized heavy water reactors, the fast breeder reactors and the thorium reactors. The country is also focused on capacity addition through indigenization with progressively higher local content for imported designs, up to 80 percent. With a large thorium reserve and accumulated technological and operational expertise over the last 35 years, India is well-poised to become a world leader in the nuclear industry.”

SCHOTT Glass India Private Ltd, is an international technology group headed by Mohan Joshi. It is a 100 percent subsidiary of SCHOTT with sales offices in Mumbai and Pune and 400 employees at the manufacturing unit for glass tubing in Vadodara. SCHOTT KAISHA Private Ltd., a 50:50 joint venture of SCHOTT AG and KAISHA Manufacturers Private Ltd., is the leading manufacturer of primary pharmaceutical packaging made of glass in India.

SCHOTT Glass India President Joshi talked about the company’s operations in India. “SCHOTT set up its sales office in Mumbai in 1998. We enhanced our commitment to India with the acquisition of Bharat Glass Tube Ltd during the same year and a subsequent joint venture with KAISHA Manufacturers Private Ltd. in 2008”, he said.

SCHOTT Glass India Private Limited sees its core purpose as the lasting improvement of living and working conditions of the people. The company has been developing special materials, components and systems for 125 years. The main areas of focus are the household appliances industry, pharmaceuticals, solar energy, electronics, optics and the automotive industry. The SCHOTT Group is present in close proximity to its customers with production and sales companies in all its major markets. The Group has approximately 17,300 employees. The company’s technological and economic expertise is closely linked with its social and ecological responsibility. The SCHOTT AG is an affiliate of the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung (Foundation).