PFBR achieves milestone, lowers safety vessel into reactor pit

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Chennai, Jun 24 (UNI) On the eve of the crucial political level talks on the issue of signing agreement with the IAEA Board of Governors on nuclear safeguards, India's pursuit of Fast Breeder Reactor Technology crossed a major milestone with the successful lowering of safety vessel into the reactor pit at the IGCAR campus in Kalpakkam today.

In a clinical operation, the 200 tonne safety vessel was lowered into the reactor pit, housing India's first ever 500 MW Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR), which was being constructed by Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited (Bhavini) at a cost of Rs 3,500 crore.

Scientists at the IGCAR campus, who were witness to this unique piece of history, described it as an indigenous engineering milestone as PFBR is being constructed based on the design inputs from IGCAR.

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

The safety vessel, with a diameter of 13.5 metres and a height of 13 metres, was built at the site itself.

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

''The successful erection of safety vessel is truly a milestone in the history of India's pursuit of FBR technology and underlines the country's capability in the design, manufacturing and erection of challenging FBR components,'' officials said.

They said this was the first large size component being erected in the country. ''Erection of safety vessel involved several challenging tasks. It has to be lowered within a narrow radial gap of 160 mm without any impact on the reactor vault and ensure that the thermal insulation panels are not damaged.'' ''The major challenge is the verticality, horizontality and alignment of axis to be achieved within three mm,'' the officials said and added that these works were carried out in a systematic and scientific manner.

''Truly it is a milestone in FBR technology, as PFBR has been designed indigenously with the objective of making it as the forerunner for a series of FBR reactors that are to follow,'' they added.


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