Write a note on the working principle of the Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) and its importance for India’s nuclear energy program. (200 Words)
- The PFBR marks the second stage of India’s 3 stage nuclear power programme. It is a 500MWe reactor, using Mixed oxide fuel reactor (plutonium – uranium oxide) and liquid sodium as a coolant. It has an operational life of around 40yrs.
- Use of liquid sodium creates additional safety requirements as sodium explodes and burns when come in contact with air. For this, two independent shut down systems are installed, designed to shut down the reactor within a second.
- The power island of this project is being engineered by BHEL.
- It produces more fissile material than used, to be used later in other thermal or breeder reactors.
- It is being prepared at Kalpakaam (Chennai) at Indira Gandhi centre for atomic Research(IGCAR).
Importance for India’s Nuclear energy programme-
- For a large country like India, long term energy security based on indigenous resources is an inevitable need.
- Will dictate composition of India’s energy mix.
- Will help in increasing India’s nuclear capacity in tune with its need for power.
- Will help in reducing India’s dependency on foreign states.
- When successfully commissioned, will signal India’s triumphant entry into its third stage of nuclear power programme.