Mumbai: Even as the Kudankulum nuclear
power facility in Tamil Nadu faces stiff opposition from
locals and activists on safety concerns, the country`s atomic
power plant operator today said the 500-mw prototype fast
breeder reactor (PFBR) being set up at Kalpakkam is likely to
be commissioned within the next two years.
"Construction work on the reactor is in the advanced
stage and we expect it to start generating electricity in the
next two years," Umesh Chandra, Senior Executive Director
(safety), Nuclear Power Corporation (NPCIL), told PTI here.
State-run NPCIL has embarked on a three-stage nuclear
power programme that comprises pressurized heavy water
reactors (PHWRs) in the first stage, fast breeder reactors
(FBRs) in second and thorium-based systems in the third stage.
The programme is based on a closed fuel cycle, where
the spent fuel of one stage is reprocessed to produce fuel for
the next stage. This multiplies manifold the energy potential
of the fuel and greatly reduces the quantity of waste.
The first phase comprises optimum utilization of the
limited uranium resources and higher plutonium yield for the
second stage fuel for FBRs.
"In view of the limited fossil fuel availability with
the country, this programme will enable us to make maximum
utilization of uranium and thorium fuel," he said.
Chandra said some vital equipment have already been
set up at Kalpakkam near Chennai. "We believe that the unit
will be commissioned within the next two years after getting
approvals from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB)."
He said after the commissioning of this unit, another
8-10 such facilities will be set up. "It will take another
10-15 years to start the third stage."