Press Esc to close
Wednesday 23 August 2017
News updated at 2:56 AM IST

India all set to tap thorium resources

Kalyan Ray New Delhi, May 3, 2012,DHNS 1:57 IST

Centre to start construction of 300MW reactor by 2016-17

India is all set to take its first step in utlising its vast thorium resource in nuclear reactors for power generation as the Centre has decided to start the construction of its first 300 MW (megawatt) thorium reactor by 2016-17.

This will be the first step towards utilisation of India’s vast thorium resources available on the coastline .The construction of advanced heavy water reactor (AWHR) that will use thorium as fuel would be launched towards the end of the 12th Plan period, V Narayansamy, minister of state in the Prime Minister's Office, informed the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

A design of AHWR incorporating several elements of indigenous pressurised heavy water reactor has been readied by a team at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai, led by R K Sinha, who took over as the new chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission.

The 300 MW reactor might be located at Tarapur in Maharashtra or Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu, sources in the atomic energy department (DAE) told Deccan Herald.
The reactor will require 52 tonnes of fuel in its core initially. As the subsequent annual fuel requirement is only 4.7 tonnes, India can sustain on its thorium reserve for hundreds of years.

Exploitation of thorium was conceived by Homi Bhabha in 1960s while framing India's three stage nuclear programme. The idea was to start with the limited amount of uranium available in the country and from outside, but eventually moving up to thorium.

The first thorium reactor would be a research project as several key technological issues were needed to be addressed before a thorium reactor was made commercial, said a DAE scientist. The lead time could be several decades.

As a fuel, thorium has certain advantages. It is a better quality fertile fuel, gives better performance in the reactor and offers less problem with storage and disposal.
On the flip side, there are serious problems related to corrosion of stainless steel vessels and pipes, radiation build up, higher cost in fuel cycle activity due to automated reprocessing and re-fabrication and separation of spent fuel solution to avoid long-term radiological impact. All of them posed major technological challenges, he explained.

The biggest plus point, however, is thorium's abundance in monazite-rich beach sands in Kerala and other states. India has an estimated 10.7 million tonnes of monazite sands (containing 8.4 lakh tonnes of thorium metal) occurring in beach and river sands in association with other heavy minerals.

Out of nearly 100 deposits of heavy minerals, at present only 17 deposits containing about four million tonnes of monazite have been identified as exploitable.

Go to Top

Photo Gallery
A boy running on a wooden bridge through a floating garden of lotus flowers on...

A boy running on a wooden bridge through a floating garden of lotus flowers on...

After their wedding ceremony, groom and bride, Nathan Mauger, Connie Young with...

After their wedding ceremony, groom and bride, Nathan Mauger, Connie Young with...

The moon passes in front of the sun for a total solar eclipse visible...

The moon passes in front of the sun for a total solar eclipse visible...

The sun rises over the coal-fired power station...

The sun rises over the coal-fired power station...

Sikh devotees pray near the Sikh holy book, Guru Granth Sahib, during at the Golden Temple...

Sikh devotees pray near the Sikh holy book, Guru Granth Sahib, during at the Golden Temple...

Chicken traders sell chicken in a market, in...

Chicken traders sell chicken in a market, in...

Bollywood actor Varun Dhawan, Jacqueline Fernandez and Taapsee Pannu at the launch...

Bollywood actor Varun Dhawan, Jacqueline Fernandez and Taapsee Pannu at the launch...

Iceland horses run together in their paddock in Wehrheim...

Iceland horses run together in their paddock in Wehrheim...

Devotees participate in the Peli and Kali Marbat procession as part of Pola festival...

Devotees participate in the Peli and Kali Marbat procession as part of Pola festival...

Bollywood actors Jacqueline Fernandez and Aditya Roy Kapur walk the ramp during the grand finale...

Bollywood actors Jacqueline Fernandez and Aditya Roy Kapur walk the ramp during the grand finale...

Like us on Facebook

Copyright 2017, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523
Powered by Yodasoft Technologies Pvt. Ltd.