New Delhi: The Fast Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR), which emerged as a symbol of the country`s self reliance in nuclear power and is one of the six such nuclear facilities functioning the world over, is set to celebrate its silver jubilee of operations next week.
The FBTR which attained criticality on October 18, 1985 continues to carry the flag of scientific brilliance by succeeding in generating power from every gram of fuel used. Aptly so, the celebrations of the silver jubilee of FBTR`s operations are set to be as grand as the reactor itself with Minister of State in the PMO Prithviraj Chavan unveiling two books on the facility and the Post Office releasing a special cover to commemorate the occasion.
The Function of FBTR and Radio Metallurgy Laboratory (RML) will be held at the Sarabhai Auditorium, Homi Bhabha Building, Indira Gandhi Centre for Advanced Research at Kalpakkam on Sunday.
Besides Chavan, Srikumar Banerjee, Chairman Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), M R Srinivasan former Chairman, AEC, Yuri Sokolov, Deputy Director General, IAEA and Frank Carre of French Atomic Energy Commission will attend the function.
"FBTR is one of the six fast reactors currently operating in the world. Life extension studies confirm that FBTR can be safely operated for at least ten more Effective Full Power years (EFPY)," an official release said.
FBTR was built with French technology, based on the design of the Rapsodie reactor which was in operation in the sixties. With an indigenous component of 80 per cent even in the seventies, FBTR is a standing testimony to the capability of Indian industries to rise to the challenges of any new demanding technology, it added.
FBTR utilizes a novel fuel in the form of carbides of Plutonium and Uranium. The Pu content of the fuel is high (at 70 per cent) which makes it unique in the world. "Its performance has been excellent in terms of the energy that can be extracted out of every gram," it said adding that the carbide fuel has reached a burn-up of 165kWd/g without any breach of its outer clad.
"This means that from every gram of the fuel, heat equivalent of 165 electrical heaters of one kilowatt capacity working for 24 hours has been extracted," the statement said. Plutonium recovered from the spent fuel from FBTR has been fabricated into fresh fuel pins and loaded back into the reactor thus closing the fuel cycle.
The sensitive leak detection systems of the steam generators which can detect nanogram levels of hydrogen in sodium have been in flawless, continuous operation for nearly
18 years, the statement said.
In the coming years, FBTR will continue to be the work-horse for the testing of metallic fuels and advanced structural materials being developed at IGCAR for the next generation of fast reactors.