India's first fast-breeder reactor to cost Rs.5,677 crore

India's first fast-breeder reactor to cost Rs.5,677 crore

"The nuclear power plant will go on stream next year. The total cost of the project by then will be Rs.5,677 crore. The per MW cost will be around Rs.11 crore which compares well with that of PHWRs (pressurised heavy water reactors) costing around Rs.10.66 crore. The cost per unit of power generated by PFBR will be Rs.4.44,” project director Prabhat Kumar told reporters in Kalpakkam, around 50 km from Chennai.

The original cost of the project was estimated at Rs.3,500 crore and the escalation was due to increase in input costs and construction of residential colony for employees, he said.

The cost was high as this was a single unit while the future units will be cheaper due to revised design, said Prabhat Kumar, adding 80 percent of the cost will be funded by the government and rest from borrowing.

According to Baldev Raj, director, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), the sites for two more FBRs have already been identified in Kalpakkam while the other two units can be set up anywhere in India.

They would go critical by 2020, he said.

Raj said many Indian states were demanding nuclear power plant but were now re-looking at the projects after the disaster at Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan.

On the safety features on IGCAR-designed PFBR, he said it has 'active and passive' features which enable the reactor to be shut down immediately. Even if all control and safety rods (CSR) and one diverse safety rod (DSR) fail, or if all DSR and two CSRs fail, the reactor can be shut down within one second, he said.

The IGCAR designed fast reactors has nine CSRs and three DSRs.