Bhavini takes measures in favour of fast reactor project

June 11th, 2012 - 9:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, June 11 (IANS) With the commissioning of India’s own 500 MW prototype fast breeder reactor (PFBR) slated for 2013 and plans for two more such reactors at Kalpakkam, Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam (Bhavini) has started focussing on mobilising public opinion in favour of its projects, said a top company official.

The exercise in this regard is in the form of carrying out corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities as well as media blitz highlighting the benefits of nuclear power and its safety.

“The company board has given special approval of Rs.8 crore for projects involving local populace. We are also ready to upgrade the public health centre located nearby and also set up a trauma care centre,” Prabhat Kumar, chairman and managing director, told IANS.

He said the company cannot run a hospital as its core activity is generation of power but can upgrade an existing government facility.

In addition, Bhavini has commissioned an agency to produce short commercials and jingles on the benefits of nuclear power and its safety to be aired on major media channels.

A breeder reactor is one that breeds more material for a nuclear fission reaction than it consumes. While the reactor will break up (fission) plutonium for power production, it will also breed more plutonium than it consumes. The original plutonium comes from natural uranium.

The surplus plutonium from each fast reactor can be used to set up more such reactors and grow the nuclear capacity in tune with India’s energy needs.

Fast reactors form a key in India’s three-stage nuclear power programme, which comprises pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWRs) at the first stage, fast breeder reactors (FBRs) at second and thorium-based systems at the third stage. In 1985, India became the sixth country in the world to have such a technology.

Speaking on the status of two more 500 MW fast reactors, Kumar said the geo-technical investigations have been completed and the terms of reference for environmental impact assessment (EIA) has been sent to the environment ministry.

“We have asked money for two fast reactors during the 12th Five-Year Plan period. By 2015-16, we plan to start construction of the two plants. The sites for locating four more reactors are yet to be finalised. Coastal location is preferred for fast reactors,” he said.

It may be noted that the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) at Tirunelveli district, around 650 km from here, being built by Nuclear Power Corporation Ltd (NPCIL) got delayed by over six months owing to public protests.

The Tamil Nadu government has asked the centre to spend around Rs.500 crore on housing and other infrastructural development activities in and around Kudankulam.

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