Prime Minister Narendra Modi marked a historic moment as he dedicated the Rs 400 crore Demonstration Fast Reactor Fuel Reprocessing Plant (DFRP) at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Kalpakkam, to the nation. This facility is a significant step towards advancing India’s nuclear capabilities, designed to reprocess fuel from Prototype Fast Breeder Reactors (PFBR).
The fast reactor power generation company, Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd (BHAVINI), based in Kalpakkam, is at the forefront of this initiative. BHAVINI is currently setting up the PFBR and has plans for two additional fast reactors in the future. The DFRP, a pilot project for larger facilities, plays a vital role in reprocessing fuel from the upcoming PFBRs.
Innovative Design by Indian Scientists
The DFRP boasts a unique design, crafted entirely by Indian scientists. This facility is capable of reprocessing both carbide and oxide fuels discharged from fast reactors, setting it apart as the only one of its kind globally. The successful implementation of this design is a testament to India’s growing prowess in nuclear technology.
Key Role in Commercial-Scale Fast Reactor Fuel Reprocessing
The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) highlights the DFRP as a crucial step towards the establishment of large commercial-scale fast reactor fuel reprocessing plants. The integration of cutting-edge technology in this plant reinforces India’s commitment to achieving self-sufficiency in nuclear fuel cycle capabilities.
Progress in PFBR Commissioning
The integrated commissioning of the PFBR, managed by BHAVINI, is well underway. Significant milestones include the filling of the main vessel with 1.15 tons of liquid sodium last August. The successful deployment of indigenously manufactured primary and secondary sodium pumps adds to the optimistic outlook. The advanced stage of integrated commissioning indicates a promising future for fast reactor power generation.
Fast Reactor Fuel Cycle Facility (FRFCF)
Adjacent to Kalpakkam, the Fast Reactor Fuel Cycle Facility (FRFCF) is under construction and is anticipated to be completed by December 2027. This ambitious project, executed by the Nuclear Recycle Board, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, and the DAE, was originally budgeted at approximately Rs 9,600 crore. The primary goal of the FRFCF is to reprocess spent fuel from fast breeder reactors, emphasizing its integral role in India’s three-stage nuclear power programme.
Significance of Fast Breeder Reactors
Fast breeder reactors, capable of breeding more material for nuclear fission reactions than they consume, are key components of India’s nuclear power strategy. The FRFCF project is not only a technological leap but also a generator of employment, with an estimated 1,500-2,000 people expected to be employed in the nuclear power sector.
Important Questions Related to Exams
1. What is the primary purpose of the Demonstration Fast Reactor Fuel Reprocessing Plant (DFRP)?
a. Power generation
b. Nuclear research
c. Reprocessing fuel from Prototype Fast Breeder Reactors (PFBR)
2. Which organization is responsible for setting up the PFBR and additional fast reactors in Kalpakkam?
a. Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR)
b. Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd (BHAVINI)
c. Department of Atomic Energy (DAE)
3. Which material was filled in the main vessel of the PFBR during its commissioning stage?
a. Liquid nitrogen
b. Liquid sodium
c. Heavy water
Kindly share your responses in the comment section.