Government plans to exploit uranium, thorium reserves

March 14th, 2008 - 12:02 am ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 13 (IANS) India has formulated a three-stage nuclear power programme to optimally use its uranium and thorium resources, parliament was informed Thursday. Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Prithviraj Chavan told the Rajya Sabha, the upper house, that the government had taken a number of steps to develop appropriate technologies for the utilization of thorium.

“Large-scale thorium utilization is contemplated in the third stage of this programme, where uranium-233 is bred in fast-breeder reactors of the second stage and will be used together with thorium,” he said.

Also, a research reactor Kamini at Kalpakkam in Tamil Nadu using uranium-233 fuel obtained from irradiated thorium will be set up. “The reactor has been operating since 1997. The fuel for the reactor is bred, reprocessed and fabricated indigenously,” he added.

The government has also carried out irradiation of thorium fuel bundles in research reactor at Trombay and in Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs).

Another major step is design and development of Advanced Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR) using thorium-based fuel. “This reactor will serve as a technology demonstrator,” Chavan said.

Around 2,00,000 giga watt years (GW-yr) electricity potential exists in India using domestic thorium through the route of breeder technology, he added.

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