Nuke-power programme gathers pace, thrust on indigenisation

Written by Economy Bureau | Hyderabad | Updated: Nov 29 2008, 07:55am hrs
As part of the Eleventh Five-Year Plan, the department of atomic energy has put in a strategy to operationalise 23 fast breeder reactors (FBR) in the country by next year with an ambitious work on 12 reactors with indigenous technologies. Following the indigenisation, the department has identified potential sites near the coastal areas to start nuclear reactors and make the country as a major supply hub for nuclear power programmes worldover.

The department would start work on eight units of 700 mega watt, three fast breeder reactors (FBW) and one advanced heavy water reactor. Besides, it is also planning to set up 10 light water reactors wherein the components would be sourced from different vendors across the world. Towards this, the negotiations have been initiated, Anil Kakodkar, chairman, Atomic Energy Commission and secretary to the department of atomic energy, said.

India is an important global leader on fast breeder technology and when the first protype fast breeder reactor (PFBR) is commissioned in the next few years, it will be the second largest country for power using fast breeder reactors which is actually a booster phase to take power programmes to higher levels, he said.

Further, it has identified four to five sites to set up a series of six to eight reactors having a capacity of 1,000 to 1,500 mega watt. About 80% of the fabrication in these reactors would be indigenous and we are talking to global vendors for the same, Kakodkar said.

These sites would be located in coastal areas and is under active consideration by the Centre for approval, he added.

Citing the example of the FBR at Kalpakkam which is 100% indigenous, SK Jain, CMD, Nuclear Power Corporation and Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd (BHAVINI), informed that the the project is running on course and is estimated to produce power by the year 2011.

The civil works are nearing completion and safety works have been fabricated. He also emphasized that new mines have been identified in the country thereby doubling the uranium availability.