PFBR to achieve new milestone tomorrow

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Chennai, Jun 23 (UNI) At a time when the political powers in New Delhi are at loggerheads over the Indo-US nuke deal, India's indigenous nuclear power programme will achieve a major milestone at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Kalpakkam, about 80 km from here, tomorrow.

India's first ever 500 MW Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) was being constructed at the IGCAR campus by Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited (Bhavini) at a cost of Rs 3,500 crore.

Ever since it was launched a couple of years ago, as part of India's second stage nuclear power programme, the PFBR had several firsts and achieved various international benchmarks during various stages of its construction.

It would achieve yet another milestone when the 200 tonne giant safety vessel would be lowered into the reactor pit, which was built on a massive concrete raft.

''It will be an indigenous engineering milestone as PFBR is being constructed based on the design inputs from IGCAR,'' official sources said.

Eminent personalities, including Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar, IGCAR Director Baldev Raj, Bhavini Project Director Prabhat Kumar and Nuclear Power Corporation India Limited CMD S K Jain would be present on the occasion when a giant crane lowers the vessel in the pit.

The safety vessel, with a diameter of 13.5 metres and a height of 13.5 metres, was built at the site itself.

The sources said the safety vessel was one of the major nuclear reactor components that would be installed inside the reactor vault and the event marks commencement of major equipment erection operations.

''It will be a complex procedure and the officials had timed it around 0700 hours taking into consideration wind conditions. We have to complete it before the wind strikes,'' the sources said on the timing of the event.

The timing was fixed after analysing the wind data at Kalpakkam for the last few days.

The new reactor was expected to go critical by September 2010 and the power generated from this reactor would be sold to Southern Grid at a cost of Rs 3.22 per unit.

UNI GV SJ AM RK1750

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