Mumbai, Feb 13 (PTI) Scientists at the Indira GandhiCentre for Atomic Research have successfully extended the lifeof the twenty-five years old workhorse'' among India�s fastbreeders -- Fast Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR) -- by another 20years.
"We have extended the life of the FBTR for another 20years up to 2030 at 50 per cent operational capacity," said DrBaldev Raj, director of IGCAR, Kalpakkam.
"The workhorse reactor has completed 25 successful years.
It has given confidence to the Indian scientists to go aheadand build the first 500 MW (electrical) Prototype Fast BreederReactor(PFBR) which is under advanced stage of construction;and at least four more fast breeder reactors (FBRs) by 2020,"Dr Raj, a distinguished scientist, told PTI.
FBTR is also a training ground for the operation andmaintenance staff of PFBR and will be the cradle for thetrained manpower for India�s fast Breeder Reactor programme.
"FBTR uses Plutonium-carbide fuel while the PFBR will beusing mixed oxide (Plutonium-uranium oxide) fuel. But thefuture fast breeders will use Uranium-Plutonium alloy orUranium-Plutonium-Zirconium," he said.
In the coming years, the major thrust of FBTR will belarge-scale irradiation of the advanced metallic fuels andcore structural materials required for the next generationfast reactors with high breeding ratios, the director said.
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For this, a programme for the fabrication of metallic fuel pins, their irradiation in FBTR, and closing the fuelcycle by pyro-reprocessing is in place, he aid.
Once this is successfully done, FBTR would have fulfilledits major mission in the Indian fast breeder reactorprogramme.
IGCAR is also exploring other applications likeproduction of medical isotopes in FBTR.
"We expect to complete all these tests by 2020 so thatwe can build a metallic test reactor as a successor to FBTR,"Dr Raj said.
The designing of the 300 MW (thermal) metallic fastbreeder test reactor will be completed by the end of 12thfive-year plan and thereafter both FBTR and the new metallictest reactor will be operational simultaneously for someyears, Raj added. FBTR will be later shut down.
IGCAR�s vast experience in the fast breeder technologiesis also being used to contribute to many issues of designingand materials for the International Thermonuclear ExperimentalReactor (ITER), he added.