India to use "plutonium" reactor in two years: AEC Chairman

India to use "plutonium" reactor in two years: AEC Chairman

Describing India as self-reliant in nuclear energy, Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Chairman Dr R K Sinha today said that due to shortage of uranium, India would start using “plutonium” based nuclear reactor in the second phase of its programme at Kalpakkam in two years.

It would be a “prototype fast breeder” (PFB) that has been indigenously designed and technologically sound, Dr Sinha, who is also Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) told reporters after a convocation ceremony at Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology here today.

Indian industries have played an important role in making the prototype fast breeder a success, he said, adding that many other countries were working on such fast breeders.

Dr Sinha said that until now, during the first phase of its nuclear programme, Indian reactors have been using uranium which was not abundantly available in the country and hence plutonium, a trans-uranic radioactive material would be used in fast breeder reactors.

After using uranium in existing and running reactors reactors, plutonium has been obtained. This could be used in upcoming reactors after re-processing, he added. In the third phase, thorium would be used in nuclear reactors, he said.

By the end of the Twelfth Five Year Plan, construction of thorium-based “Advanced Heavy Water Reactor” (AHWR) would begin, he said, adding that the technique would be demonstrated before installation and operation.

AHWR technology would also be enhanced on a commercial basis, he said, adding that it would take years to come up in the country, he said.

He said that the site of the reactor was yet to be confirmed. However, he hinted that it could be in Vishkhapatnam.

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