India’s 500 MWe Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) at Kalapakkam in Tamil Nadu missed its September 2014 deadline for first criticality, and will be commissioned in 2015 reported Jitendra Singh, minister of state for space and atomic energy.
Erection of all major components of the reactor has been completed. Commissioning of auxiliary systems such as the safety service water systems, emergency service water systems, ventilation, electrical and gas systems have been completed. The next stage in commissioning is preheating and filling of sodium into the secondary and primary systems. The project achieved an overall physical progress of 98% at the end of June 2014.
“Being the first of its kind reactor being built completely indigenously in our country, some delays on account of the requirement of rigorous testing and qualification of all major equipment and sub-systems are anticipated,” said Singh.
The PFBR is a sodium-cooled pool-type fast reactor. It is the first unit of the second stage of India’s original three-stage program of nuclear development. The first step was natural uranium-fueled Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors and the third step envisages thorium-based advanced heavy water reactors. India has one of the world’s largest reserves of thorium and is keen to exploit the mineral for clean energy production.