ANI Photo | PM Modi witnesses ‘commencement of core loading’ at India’s first indigenous Fast Breeder Reactor at Kalpakkam

In a significant milestone marking entry into the second stage of India’s three-stage nuclear programme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday witnessed the commencement of “core loading” at India’s first indigenous Fast Breeder Reactor (500 MWe) at Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu.
The Prime Minister took a tour of the reactor vault and the control room of the Reactor. He was briefed about the salient features of the facility.
Once commissioned, India will only be the second country after Russia to have commercial operating Fast Breeder Reactor.
An official release said that India has developed comprehensive capabilities spanning the entire spectrum of the nuclear fuel cycle. The Government had approved in 2003, the creation of Bhartiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd (BHAVINI) to construct and operate India’s most advanced nuclear reactor- Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR).
In line with the true spirit of Aatmanirbhar Bharat, PFBR has been fully designed and constructed indigenously by BHAVINI with significant contribution from more than 200 Indian industries including MSMEs.
The Fast Breeder Reactor (FBR) will initially use the Uranium-Plutonium Mixed Oxide (MOX) fuel. The Uranium-238 “blanket” surrounding the fuel core will undergo nuclear transmutation to produce more fuel, thus earning the name ‘breeder’. The use of Throium-232, which in itself is not a fissile material, as a blanket is also envisaged in this stage. By transmutation, thorium will create fissile Uranium-233 which will be used as fuel in the third stage.
FBR is thus a stepping stone for the third stage of the programme paving the way for the eventual full utilization of India’s abundant thorium reserves.
In terms of safety, the PFBR is an advanced third-generation reactor with inherent passive safety features ensuring a prompt and safe shutdown of the plant in the event of an emergency.
Since it uses the spent fuel from the first stage, FBR also offers a great advantage in terms of a significant reduction in nuclear waste generated, avoiding the need for large geological disposal facilities, the release said.
Upon completion of the core loading, the first approach to criticality will be achieved, leading to the generation of power subsequently.
The release said that despite the advanced technology involved, both the capital cost and the per unit electricity cost is comparable to other nuclear and conventional power plants.
“The growth of the Indian nuclear power programme is imperative to meet the twin goals of energy security and sustainable development. As a responsible nuclear power with advanced technology, India remains committed to expand peaceful applications of nuclear technology, both in power and non-power sector, while ensuring the security of nuclear and radiological materials,” the release said

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