‘Apsara-U’, a higher capacity version of Asia’s first research reactor– ‘Apsara’ has become operational, the Department of Atomic Energy said on Tuesday. In its modern avatar, the reactor was “born” on Monday at the Trombay campus of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Maharashtra, a statement said. The ‘Apsara’ provided over five decades of dedicated service to the researchers, becoming operational in August 1956 and shutting down in 2009.
“Nearly sixty-two years after Apsara came into existence, a swimming pool type research reactor ‘Apsara-upgraded’, of higher capacity was born at Trombay on September 10,” the statement said. “The reactor, made indigenously, uses plate type dispersion fuel elements made of Low Enriched Uranium (LEU),” it added.
The reactor will increase indigenous production or radio-isotopes for medical application by about fifty percent and would also be extensively used for research in nuclear physics, material science and radiation shielding, the statement said. This development has re-emphasised the capability of Indian scientists and engineers to build, complex facilities for health care, science education and research, it added.