India’s first 500 MW fast reactor gets delayed by two more years

Chennai: Delays and cost overrun continue to bog the 500 MW Prototype Fast Breeder Test Reactor (PFBR) project that is being set up in Kalpakkam near Chennai.

The 500 MW PFBR is now expected to be complete in 2024, while the project’s physical progress is 97.64 per cent complete, Minister for Atomic Power Dr Jitendra Singh told Rajya Sabha on Thursday to a question raised by Sangeeta Yadav.

The PFBR is built by India’s fast breeder reactor company Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd (BHAVINI) since 2004. Initially it was said the project would start commercial power generation in 2011.

As per BHAVINI’s annual report for 2021-22, the project cost has been revised upwards to Rs 6,840 crore from Rs 5,677 crore. The project completion date was fixed for October 2022, which has come and gone.

A fast breeder reactor is one which breeds more material for a nuclear fission reaction than it consumes. It is the key to India’s three-stage nuclear power programme.

The PFBR was designed by the Indira Gandhi Center for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Kalpakkam. The IGCAR has also designed two more fast breeder reactors.

According to BHAVINI, as a part of pre-project activities for next two fast reactors, their design is being thoroughly reviewed considering all the commissioning feedbacks of PFBR.

“Detailed design and analysis of the fast breeder reactors 1 and 2 are under progress incorporating all the stipulations in line with the latest AERB (Atomic Energy Regulatory Board) codes,” the company said.

“Based on the requirements of the major components to be fabricated and assembled at site, design of the site assembly shop (SAS) has been finalized and same is under construction. Presently, the finishing works such as Transoms & mullions, Masonry etc., are completed and Plastering, Fixing of doors etc., are in progress,” BHAVINI said.


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