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Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor

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Title: Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Breeder reactor, Sodium-cooled fast reactor, India's three-stage nuclear power programme, Generation IV reactor, Nuclear energy in India
Collection: Liquid Metal Fast Reactors, Nuclear Energy in India
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor

Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor
Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor is located in Tamil Nadu
Location of Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor in India Tamil Nadu
Country India
Location Madras
Status Under construction
Construction began 2004
Construction cost ₹56 770 000 000
Owner(s) NPCIL
Operator(s) BHAVINI
Nuclear power station
Reactor type fast breeder

The Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) is a 500MWe fast breeder nuclear reactor presently being constructed at the Madras Atomic Power Station in Kalpakkam, India.[1] The Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) is responsible for the design of this reactor. As of 2007 the reactor was expected to begin functioning in 2010 but now it is expected to achieve first criticality in September 2015.[2] Total costs, originally estimated at 3500 crore (35 billion Rupees, 450 million euros) are now estimated at 5,677 crore (750 million Euros).[3] The Kalpakkam PFBR is using uranium-238 not thorium, to breed new fissile material, in a sodium-cooled fast reactor design. The power island of this project is being engineered by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, largest power equipment utility of India.

The surplus plutonium (or uranium-233 for thorium reactors) from each fast reactor can be used to set up more such reactors and grow the nuclear capacity in tune with India's needs for power. The PFBR is part of the three-stage nuclear power program.

India has the capability to use thorium cycle based processes to extract nuclear fuel. This is of special significance to the Indian nuclear power generation strategy as India has one of the world's largest reserves of thorium, which could provide power for more than 10,000 years,[4][5] and perhaps as long as 60,000 years.[6][7]

The design of this reactor was started in the 1980s.


  • Technical details 1
  • Safety considerations 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Technical details

The reactor will use 1,750 tonnes of sodium as the coolant. It shall generate electrical power of 500MW. It will make use of MOX fuel, a mixture of PuO
and UO
. A fuel burnup of 100GWd/t is expected. It will have an operational life of 40 years.

Safety considerations

The fact that PFBR will be cooled by liquid sodium creates additional safety requirements to isolate the coolant from the environment, since sodium explodes if it comes into contact with water and burns when in contact with air. Another hazard associated with the use of sodium as a coolant is the absorption of neutrons to generate the radioactive isotope 24

There are two independent shutdown systems installed, designed to shut the reactor down effectively within a second. The reactor also has decay heat removal systems consisting of four independent circuits of 8MWt capacity each.[9]


  1. ^ Baldev Raj, S.C. Chetal and P. Chellapandi (8 January 2010). "Great expectations". Nuclear Engineering International. 
  2. ^ "Kalpakkam prototype fast breeder reactor to go on stream". T. S. Subramanian; The Hindu. 8 July 2015. 
  3. ^ "Bhavini, fast-breeder reactor operator, to raise Rs.1,200 crore". Tamil Nadu,Business/Economy,Science/Tech; News Track India. 10 June 2012. 
  4. ^ "Thorium can power civilization for over 3000 years". 26 February 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2012. 
  5. ^ Rose, David (12 June 2011). "Thorium deposits adequate for sustaining world for 10,000 years". London: The Daily Mail. Retrieved 23 March 2012. 
  6. ^  
  7. ^ Rodricks, Dan (9 May 2011). "Thor's nuclear-powered hammer". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 23 March 2012. 
  8. ^ "Design of 500 MWe Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor" (PDF). 

External links

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