After all tests done, India’s fast breeder reactor project to start by September: Officials


nuclear plantWith authorities working to complete all tests and ensure regulatory compliances, India’s first indigenously designed 500-MW fast breeder reactor at Kalpakkam would start nuclear power generation by September, nuclear power officials said.

“We are closely working with Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) to complete all tests and ensure regulatory compliances. We hope to start power generation this September,” said P. Chellapandi, chairman and managing director, Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd (BHAVINI).

The project site at Madras Atomic Power Station in Kalpakkam, around 80 km from here, has been undertaken by BHAVINI, the country’s second nuclear power plant operator tasked with operating fast breeder reactors.

“The plant is expected to be commissioned this year. Different processes are expected to be over in one or two months. Thereafter, fuel will have to be loaded into the reactor,” told Sekhar Basu, a member of Atomic Energy Commission and director of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC).

The prototype fast breeder reactor will use a blend of plutonium and uranium oxide for fuel, called MOX fuel. Chellapandi said the unit would be connected to the southern grid and start feeding power to the tune of 30 percent of its total capacity.

According to Basu, also a director at Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL), the second 1,000-MW unit at Kudankulam plant is also expected to be commissioned this year.

The NPCIL has set up two 1,000-MW nuclear power plants at Kudankulam in Tirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu, around 650 km from here. Both units are supplied by Russian company Rosatom. The first unit was connected to the southern grid in December 2014 and is now operating at around 60 percent of its capacity.

Basu said the first unit would be refuelled. One third of fuel pins have to be changed every year. He said the refuelling process is being prolonged since the second unit is yet to go on stream.

According to NPCIL, the second unit at Kudankulam has achieved a physical progress of 98.23 percent as on May 2015.