India's first fast breeder reactor (PFBR) at Kalpakkam in Tamil Nadu is the first ever commercial fast breeder nuclear reactor currently under its final stages of construction. The Hindu reports that the chairman of Atomic Energy Commission of India, R.K. Sinha has informed the press that all the major equipment of the reactor have been erected and currently the engineering teams are working on loading of the dummy fuels in the peripheral locations of the reactor. Sinha was addressing the International Energy Agency (IAEA) International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in Russia.
The PFBR is being developed by the Indira Gandhi Centre For Atomic Research (IGCAR). The total cost of the construction of the project is estimated to be about Rs. 5677 crore (aka 56.77 Billion Rupees). You may ask why is India interested in building the PFBR and the answer lies in the fuel it can use. The PFBR can use the thorium fuel cycle and it's an established fact that India is home to world's second largest reserves of Thorium.
The PFBR at Kalpakkam uses Uranium-238 (not Thorium) to breed the new fissile material inside a sodium-cooled fast reactor. India's 'Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) is responsible for harnessing the power produced by the reactor.
The reactor was to be completed and commissioned by the end of 2010; but the project got delayed because of various reasons and is now expected to go live by September 2014. We hope the reactor will be operational by the set deadline. Electricity generated from the reason will be sold to the State Electricity Boards at a fixed rate of Rs. 4.44 / unit.
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