Sunday, January 22, 2012

India's First Fast Breeder Reactor to Go Critical in Early 2013, Near Chennai

Some poetic justice, I can't help thinking. But this may be exactly what the Japanese government and the corporate elites (particularly in the nuclear industry) want anyway, to be near a successful (if) fast breeder reactor for a change.

India's first prototype fast breeder reactor will go critical in early 2013, with commercial power generation to commence in March 2015 in the township of Kalpakkam in Tamil Nadu, about 70 kilometers south of Chennai where the Japanese government-industry joint venture is to set up a "Japan town" where expat Japanese can live in luxury with own hospitals and shopping centers, golf course in a resort setting.

The fast breeder uses liquid sodium as coolant, just like "Monju" in Japan. I am pretty sure that Indians, just like the Japanese before them, think they are different, and won't make stupid mistakes like Americans (TMI), Russians (Chernobyl), and Japanese (Fukushima). Not to mention the costly "Monju" fast breeder project that has had nothing but failures.

Just watch out for those cyclones and tsunamis from future mega earthquakes from Indonesia...

From (1/21/2012):

Chennai: India's first 500-MW prototype fast breeder reactor (PFBR), being set up at Kalpakkam near here, is likely to go critical early next year and commercial generation of electricity is expected in March 2015.

India`s first PFBR to go critical early 2013
"Construction activities will come to close this year-end. Loading of the part fuel is expected to happen during the first quarter of next year and the reactor would go critical," said S.C. Chetal, director at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) that designed the PFBR.

Chetal is also a director at Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd (BHAVINI), a public sector company under the Directorate of Atomic Energy (DAE), that has been given the responsibility to build fast reactor power plants in the country.

When the PFBR is commissioned, power can be produced at a lesser cost than electricity generated from conventional sources.

A breeder reactor is one that breeds more material for a nuclear fission reaction than it consumes. The reaction produces energy that is used in the form of electricity. The Indian fast reactors will be fuelled by a blend of plutonium and uranium oxide.

India`s first PFBR to go critical early 2013
While the reactor will break up (fission) plutonium for power production, it will also breed more plutonium than it consumes. The original plutonium comes from natural uranium.

The surplus plutonium from each fast reactor can be used to set up more such reactors and grow the nuclear capacity in tune with India's energy needs.

Fast reactors form a key in the India's three-stage nuclear power programme, which comprises pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWRs) at the first stage, fast breeder reactors (FBRs) at second and thorium-based systems at the third stage. In 1985, India became the sixth country in the world to have such a technology.

The government has said in parliament that the PFBR is expected to begin commercial production in March 2015. Nuclear scientists though are of the view that commercial generation can happen even before that date.

According to Prabhat Kumar, project director, BHAVINI, the PFBR construction work will be over by September this year and testing of various systems would end by December 2012 or January 2013.

"There is no inordinate time lag between PFBR attaining criticality and it starting commercial production given the fact that it is a newly-designed reactor. With small core/fuel lot of tests on reactor physics would be done. Then by gradually increasing the generation engineering tests would be carried out," a nuclear scientist told IANS, preferring anonymity.

"A year of testing will be sufficient after reactor attained criticality," he remarked.

Asked about the delay in commercial production, Chetal said: "The PFBR is first of its kind in the country and we want to be sure about the functioning of each and every system."

According to him, with the loading of part fuel, the reactor systems will be checked by increasing the power generation in a gradual manner.

He does not agree that the delay in commercial production of PFBR would have an impact on the next two fast reactors that is planned at Kalpakkam.

"The design modifications made in the proposed two reactors will not make them as first of its kind. They will be commercial reactors. Since PFBR is new we want to be sure with its systems," Chetal added.

The government has allotted Rs.250 crore for pre-project activities for two more 500 MW units.

It has sanctioned construction of two more 500 MW fast reactors whose location is yet to be finalised.



Anonymous said...

So..what is the disaster plan for these new reactors? Breeder reactor, new facility or not--they can still have all the accidents (earthquakes, tsunami, flooding, severe weather) --all other reactors face. And making more fuel, "breeding", just great--so how do they dispose of it all safely. And I mean NOT in earth, NOT in oceans, NOT in atmosphere. They need to de-construct the fuel into stable and non-radioactive materials. Or ---More disposable people?

Anonymous said...


I have to say, after having lived in India for more than a year, I'm not surprised.

I love India but the question here isn't IF, it's WHEN.

no6ody said...

Hubris: Excessive pride and/or self confidence and/or arrogance.

Despite some examples evident in other govs, India's gov has it.

Anonymous said...

From a physicist, teacher in university on nuclear matters; "have no hope in Monju-type reactors. It is simply too complex. It does not work. "

Chibaguy said...

So India has been sold on the "dream" and bent to hell to leave generations to come to clean up the mess.

Steveo said...

On January 22, 2012 we had a "Wake Up Call"

It didn't turn out to be too serious. Picture the sun being 93,000,000 miles away and firing a shotgun blast the size of the earth, towards the earth. Well it is not likely to be a direct hit. Apart from some Satellite disruption, and a few pieces of "space junk" falling out of the sky (indeed the atmosphere changes and causes drag on space junk which then falls out of the sky), some really neat northern lights, and some detectable electric currents in Norway, well it wasn't too bad.

But it could be bad. In 1989 a mini-Carrington burnt up some industrial size transformers, and shut down the grid for 6 million people. Serious enough stuff.

Just think what would happen if it wasn't just one power company and a few big transformers, what if it was 400 power companies, 5000 transformers, and 400 nuke plants melting down? We have been set up for this, we are living on borrowed time.

Troll Jousting Fodder here, check it out.

Atomfritz said...

The Indian nuke plants are notoriously known for being the dirtiest and leakiest on the world.

Each maintenance cycle thousands of workers, mostly analphabetic village dwellers from the countryside, are hired to do the dirty work.
They are cheap and the nuke operators don't need to worry that these people will be able to sue them when they got ill. They are of a low caste and so have intrinsic bad karma, so what?

But, as Steve pointed out, no nuclear plant, how sophisticated it ever is, can be safe in case of a Carrington event. If the 400 nuclear plant cores and the thousands of cores of spent fuel in cooling basins go out of control, mankind probably would go extinct after a few generations due to genetic defects accumulating from one generation to the next one.

Every fast breeder then would be a true chernobyl on steroids and not duds like Fukushima 1-3 because of the sodium burning and evaporating practically all fission products high into the air.
Japan should be wise and unload the fuel from Monju asap.

Anonymous said...

Adding to 9:09,

".. if a thousand or more of the world's Extra High Voltage transformers were to be destroyed during a single geomagnetic storm, it would take years, and possibly decades, for much of the world to recover from such an event. "

"EHV transformers are custom designed for each installation and are made to order, weighing as much as 300 tons each, and costing well over a million dollars. There is currently a three year waiting list for a single EHV transformer .. "

"Since 2008, Congress has narrowly failed to pass legislation that would implement at least some of the EMP Commission's recommendations. "

Matthew Stein is the author of When Disaster Strikes: A Comprehensive Guide for Emergency Planning and Crisis Survival, and When Technology Fails: A Manual for Self-Reliance, Sustainability, and Surviving the Long Emergency from Chelsea Green. For more information, visit and and

Anonymous said...

" "In the 160-year record of geomagnetic storms, the Carrington event is the biggest." It's possible to delve back even farther in time by examining arctic ice. "Energetic particles leave a record in nitrates in ice cores," he explains. "Here again the Carrington event sticks out as the biggest in 500 years and nearly twice as big as the runner-up."

These statistics suggest that Carrington flares are once in a half-millennium events. The statistics are far from solid, however, and Hathaway cautions that we don't understand flares well enough to rule out a repeat in our lifetime. "

Comments, anyone, as to whether the Carrington event is 'a representative event' ?

This character, here,
may accuse NASA of "fear mongering", so NASA should be ready to defend itself.

Anonymous said...

So just wait until enough n-power stations are online in India, then blow some of them up. Anyone who can't afford or obtain A-bombs has now a better option to permanently detroy the enemy.

That will solve the indian overpopulation issue the same way as in japan. People will just mutate and extinct within the next 5 genations.

Anonymous said...

As Mike Stein pointed out, the cost to safe the EHVs is not high.

Your choice, do the creative thing and safe them, everyone's


do nothing, and argue w/internet meathead 'commando sappers' about the 'morality' of pointing out the absurd, glaring weaknesses of these systems .. and those entrusted to operate them.

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the song...A man liked milk now he owns a million cows....tell me that I'm dreaming..

Anonymous said...

What would you do if you were playing a video game and suddenly some of your game characters became self aware and looked up at you---and didn't like you?

Sadly, I believe that it is apparent that the "owners" of this Earth are immune to the effects of radiation, and our awareness of them, even if just by a few is making them nervous and maing them do what they always do.

Blow off a little steam.

So sad....

Anonymous said...

".. and making them do what they always do. "

They appear to have been 'dumping' the electricity produced by these nukes.

Else, the Japanese economy is literally on its knees.

January 24, 2012
"Currently, 49 out of 54 commercial nuclear reactors in Japan are under suspension, "

Atomfritz said...

"January 24, 2012
"Currently, 49 out of 54 commercial nuclear reactors in Japan are under suspension, "

A slogan of the German nuclear industry was for decades:
"Ohne Atomstrom gehen die Lichter aus!"
(in English: Without nuclear energy electricity the lights will go out")

It is winter, energy consumption is high, and nobody talks about blackouts in Japan anymore.

But I suppose some lights will go out in parts of India and Pakistan when they mutually bomb their nuclear plants around Delhi and Karachi.
And North Korea actually doesn't need nuclear bombs, as the U.S. colonies Japan and South Korea have plenty of nuclear plants and spent fuel pools inviting an attack.

Anonymous said...

Japan Tsunami Warnings From Ancestors Were Forgotten

Does it get more poignant than that ^^ ?

Perhaps we will show them greater poignancy by ignoring the warnings on the geomagnetic storms.

400 Chernobyls

The militaries of the world and the continuities of government in their redoubts, only they think they can survive 400 Chernobyls.

Anonymous said...

Nuclear Bopal?

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