Chanakya IAS Academy Blog


Cabinet gives nod for 10 indigenous nuclear reactors

A proposal to construct 10 indigenous pressurized heavy water reactors with a total capacity of 7000MWe was cleared by the Union cabinet.

The existing operational capacity in India is 6,780MW and a similar capacity will be set up by 2021-22

Rationale behind the decision:

  • Our international collaborations for nuclear projects have faced trouble recently
    • The deal with US which involved setting up of six reactors in Andhra Pradesh has hit a rough patch after Westinghouse (US firm) filed for bankruptcy
    • The other deal which involved French firm Areva for setting up reactors in Jaitapur is still being negotiated due to differences over cost
  • On the positive side, the approval signifies the belief we have in the capability of India’s scientific community to build indigenous technological capabilities
  • India has achieved complete self-reliance in PHWR technology

Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor(PHWR):

  • A nuclear reactor that enriched natural uranium as its fuel and heavy water as coolant and moderator
  • Pressure allows the heavy water to be heated to higher temperature without boiling

Advantages of Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor(PHWR) technology:

  • Optimum utilization of the limited uranium resources
  • Higher Plutonium yield, for the second stage fuel
  • Availability of Indigenous Technology

Indian Nuclear Power Generation: A Three Stage Programme envisaged

  • Stage 1: Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor
  • Stage 2: Fast Breeder Reactor,
    • Pu-239 obtained from the first stage reactor operation will be used as the fuel core in fast breeder reactors (FBR)
    • A blanket of U-238 surrounding the fuel core will produce fresh Pu-239 as more and more Pu-239 is consumed
    • Besides a blanket of Th-232 around the FBR core undergoes neutron capture reactions which will lead to the formation of U-233
  • Stage 3: Breeder Reactor
    • Use U-233 as fuel which is obtained in the second stage
    • Besides, U-233 fueled breeder reactors will have a Th-232 blanket around the U-233 reactor core which will generate more U-233 as the reactor goes operational
Read 1013 times Last modified on Thursday, 18 May 2017 12:40

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.