PFBR Plant May Go Critical by Mid-year

Published: 04th February 2015 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th February 2015 03:47 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI:The 500 MW Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) in Kalpakkam, an important milestone in the country’s three-stage nuclear power programme, is likely to attain criticality by either June or July, and expected to be commercialised by the last quarter of 2016, according to Perumal Chellapandi, new chairman and managing director of Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd (BHAVINI).

He is also currently spearheading the design of two more Fast Breeder Reactors, each of 600 MW capacity.

Talking to Express, Chellapandi, said commissioning of PFBR will be executed in three major phases.

The first phase would be handled by sodium technologists. This includes various isothermal studies besides filling up of liquid sodium, heating it for tests including vibration checks. This would be done without introducing any fuel in the core.

Then follows the second phase with loading of fuel, handled by reactor physicists. This would lead to PFBR attaining criticality either by June or July 2015.

“The dummy sub-assemblies which are currently in the core locations will be replaced with fuel sub-assemblies to make the reactor critical and some heat will be generated in a sustainable manner. The aim is to attain criticality with nearly zero power,” he said.

Consequent to this comes the entry of power plant experts to study all aspects of electricity generation from the heat generated from the reactor core.  This could happen by September 2015. “By September, the reactor may produce some fraction of nominal power. We will be conducting trials as a confidence building exercise,” the ‘distinguished scientist’ of Department of Atomic Energy said.

The reactor, then with nominal power, would go in for commercialisation by the last quarter of 2016, Chellapandi hoped.


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