Indian Nuclear Development and Technology

Discussion in 'Strategic Forces' started by RPK, Nov 5, 2009.

  1. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

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    The Hindu : News / National : Foundation for 700 MWe indigenous reactors in December

    The ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of India’s two biggest indigenous nuclear power reactors of 700 MWe capacity each at Kakrapara in Gujarat will take place by the end of next month (December), according to S.K. Jain, Chairman and Managing Director, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL). They are called Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) and this is the first time that the NPCIL will be building indigenous PHWRs with a capacity of 700 MWe. So far it has built PHWRs of only 220 MWe or 540 MWe.
    “The excavation of foundation for both the 700 MWe units at Kakrapara will take place simultaneously by December-end. They will be completed in six years,” Mr. Jain said. Kakrapara is about 80 km from Surat. The indigenous PHWRs use natural uranium as fuel, and heavy water as both coolant and moderator.

    The Union government has given financial sanction for the construction of two more 700 MWe PHWRs at Rawatbhatta in Rajasthan. The laying of foundation for them will take place by the middle of 2010. These 700 MWe reactors will form the seventh and eighth units of the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station (RAPS).

    The fifth PHWR at Rawatbhatta (called RAPS-5), with a capacity of 220 MWe, will be commissioned by November 20.“The fuel-loading in the reactor has been completed. It is imported natural uranium fuel and it has been fabricated at the Nuclear Fuel Complex, Hyderabad,” the NPCIL Chairman said.

    Heavy water will be loaded into the reactor soon. After the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), which monitors safety in nuclear installations in India, gives the clearance, the reactor will be started up by November 20.

    RAPS-6, which will also generate 220 MWe, will be commissioned by February, 2010.

    On reports that residents of the Niweli village in Jaitapur taluq, Maharashtra, were refusing to accept compensation cheques during land acquisition for the French reactors to be built at Jaitapur, Mr. Jain said: “One thing is clear. We want to take all the local people into confidence and land acquisition will be done with their cooperation. We want to do it in a democratic manner, clear the local people’s apprehensions and convince them that it is their project which we are going to build.”

    Mr. Jain denied that any “Singur-type of situation” was developing at Jaitapur and called it “a wrong comparison.” He said the NPCIL officials “will talk to the people at Jaitapur, make them part of the project and feel proud of it.” A section of the people had become emotional when physical possession of land had to be done. “If they feel that the project is going to hurt them, we will sit with them and convince them that the project is in their favour,” Mr. Jain said. The NPCIL had deposited the compensation amount with the State government and its officials should acquire the land, he said.

    The NPCIL and Areva, a French nuclear company, signed a memorandum of understanding on February 4, 2009 for setting up two to six French reactors called European Pressurised Reactors with a capacity of 1,650 MWe each at Jaitapur in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri district.
     
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  3. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

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    India, EU hold 10th Summit, sign pact on Fusion Energy Research

    India, EU hold 10th Summit, sign pact on Fusion Energy Research | NetIndian | India News | Latest News from India | Breaking News from India | Latest Headlines

    India and the European Union (EU) today signed an agreement in the field of Fusion Energy Research and decided to forge stronger cooperation in the areas of science and technology, education and culture.

    "This agreement underscores the growing importance of energy security and clean energy in our cooperation," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told mediapersons after the 10th India-EU Summit.

    The summit was attended by, among others, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt of Sweden and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

    Dr Singh said talks at the summit were very productive and wide-ranging and held in a spirit of friendship and warmth, which he described as the hallmark of India-EU relations.

    The two sides reviewed the progress on the Joint Action Plan that was adopted by them in 2005 and agreed on measures to speed up its implementation.

    Dr Singh said India and the EU had a Strategic Partnership based on shared values of democracy, pluralism, cultural diversity and respect for human rights.

    "In this context, we reviewed the entire spectrum of our bilateral cooperation. We have identified trade and investment, energy, counter-terrorism, science and technology, climate change, and movement of peoples and as priority areas of our cooperation," he said.

    Among other things, the two sides reviewed the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan and emphasised the need for concerted international action to combat terrorism.

    They agreed to work towards early finalisation of the agreement between Europol and India. They also reviewed the situation in the Middle East, Iran, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

    The two sides also exchanged views on other global and regional issues and agreed to continue to work closely on issues such as the reform of international institutions, the global economic and financial crisis, climate change and nuclear diarmament and non-proliferation.

    "We agreed on the importance of a multi-lateral approach to addressing these challenges," Dr Singh said.

    The Prime Minister said he was happy to note that, despite the economic slowdown, trade in goods and services between India and the EU had doubled over the past five years to reach almost euro 80 billion.

    He said the two sides had agreed to expedite the conclusion of a balanced and mutually beneficial Broad Based Agreement on Trade and Investment that would lead to increased economic opportunities and creation of jobs as well as wealth. He invited European businesses to increase their investments in India.

    Dr Singh also urged the EU to facilitate movement of people, especially professionals, businesspersons, students, members of civil society and tourists through a friendly visa regime.

    "I am satisfied with the outcome of our discussions. India looks forward to taking this very important relationship forward in all areas," he added.
     
  4. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

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    Russian deputy PM reviews Kudankulam nuclear project

    Chennai, Nov 11 (IANS) Russian Deputy Prime Minister S.S. Sobyanin Wednesday visited and reviewed the 2×1,000 MW Kudankulam nuclear power project here.
    The two 1,000 MW Russian reactors are in the advanced stages of construction with the first unit expected to go on stream sometime early next year and the second around eight months later. Russia will also supply fuel for the reactors for its entire life.

    Sobyanin reviewed the status of the project with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited officials led by Chairman and Managing Director S.K. Jain.

    Russia has agreed to supply four more reactors to be housed in Kudankulam.

    In August, dummy fuel - similar to the real one in terms of weight and other features but without uranium - for the first reactor was received.

    Earlier, the project received the first consignment of uranium from Russia for the second 1,000 MW unit at Kudankulam. The fuel consignment for the first unit came in early 2008.

    According to officials, another fuel consignment and some more components for the project are expected from Russia this month.
     
  5. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

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    Technologies to harvest uranium from sea




    There are 4.5 billion tonnes of uranium in sea water, a thousand times more than what is known to exist in uranium mines


    The way ahead: BARC and the Commissariat a’ Energie Atomique (CEA), France, are collaborating to develop three innovative and efficient methods of uranium extraction.

    Uranium in trace quantities is present in soil, rock and water. Bounteous nature leaves about 4.5 billion tonnes of uranium in sea water, a thousand times more than what is known to exist in uranium mines. Since its concentration is extremely low (only one particle of uranium for 34 million particles of other elements), harvesting uranium from sea is a formidable task.

    Japanese technology

    Japan developed a technology by using plastic sheets to which amidoxime, which is capable of selectively absorbing uranium from seawater, is grafted by high energy electron beam irradiation.

    Scientists from the Desalination Division, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre recovered uranium at milligram levels from sea water using electron beam grafted amidoxime.

    They developed a semi pilot scale facility to produce radiation grafted sheets of 1 metre X 1 metre size.

    They collected about 800 microgrammes of uranium in five campaigns from CIRUS Jettyhead; about 1.8 milligrammes from the seawater intake and outfall canals at the Tarapur Atomic Power Station and around 200 microgrammes from Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Though these amounts are trivial, it gives confidence in the technology


    Field trials carried out at the three locations gave concentration factors of 300, 600 and 700 for the submergence of the absorbent material for 12, 14 and 23 days respectively.

    “What are the reasons for obtaining different concentration factors at different locations?” “The concentration factor depends on corrosion, bio-fouling and their combined effect on the adsorption kinetics. These may be different at different locations”, Dr P.K. Tewari, Head, Desalination Division, BARC responded to my query.

    BARC scientists studied these factors and the mechanical properties of the materials used in the suspension assembly and the substrate. They established their compatibilities with seawater and process chemicals and the optimum submergence periods for various locations.

    They also evaluated the potential of Polyhydroxamic Acid (PHOA) sorbent, for uptake of uranium from seawater. They obtained a concentration factor of over 190, when the resin, filled in a porous bag was dipped in seawater for a period ranging from 10-30 days.

    BARC and the Commissariat a’ Energie Atomique (CEA), France, are collaborating to develop three innovative and efficient methods of uranium extraction from the concentrated brine rejected by integrated nuclear desalination systems, which both partners are currently developing.

    The first method uses resin-grafted with calixarene (a synthetic material, indecently expensive!); magnetic separation is the second method and the third uses a canal system using absorbents.

    These methods are highly selective but need further research and development.


    Using three absorption cages, each of cross sectional area of 16 square metres and height of 16 cm and consisting of stacks of 52,000 uranium specific, non-woven sheets with a total mass of 350 kg, a Japanese group recovered more than one kg of uranium in terms of yellow cake during a submersion period of 240 days in the ocean.

    Underwater farm

    Dr Masao Tanada of the Japanese Atomic Energy Agency hopes to get funding to construct an under-water uranium farm covering nearly 400 square miles that would meet one-sixth of Japan’s annual uranium requirements.

    Tanada asserts that Japan’s nuclear power industry can harvest the 8,000 tons it needs annually from the Kuroshio Current that flows along Japan’s eastern seaboard.

    Japanese researchers found out that they can harvest uranium from sea by cultivating genetically engineered gulfweed which will grow in sea at an unbelievable rate of two metres an year. The weed selectively soaks up heavy metals including uranium.

    A spin-off

    What will you do with possibly the millions of tons of grass left over after recovering uranium? Convert it to bioethanol! Gulfweed is an ideal non-food source of bio-ethanol. Gulfweed traps carbondioxide from sea.

    Conventional uranium mining requires environmental restoration including long term tailings management. Uranium recovery from the sea does not leave any tailings. With superb green credentials, it is an environmental friendly process.

    India has miles to go to reach kilogramme capacities of uranium. BARC has plans to upgrade the capacity.




    K.S. PARTHASARATHY


    Raja Ramanna Fellow, Department of Atomic Energy

    ( [email protected] )
     
  6. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Indian Nuclear Technology

    [mod]All news related to Indian nuclear technology here.[/mod]
     
  7. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

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    'Russia keen to build more nuclear reactors for India'

    Tirunelveli (TN), Nov 12 (PTI) Russia, currently assisting India in the construction of two 1,000 MWe nuclear power reactors at Koodankulam nuclear plant in this district, is negotiating with New Delhi to build more reactors, its Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Sobyanin has said.

    "Russian Federation is prepared to construct new cost-effective nuclear reactors for India, considering its energy needs, and negotiations are going on in this direction," Sobyanin, on a visit to the Koodankulam nuclear power plant yesterday, told reporters.

    Heading a nine-member high-level delegation, Sobyanin inspected the progress of the work on construction of the 2 X 1000 MWe reactors in collaboration with Russia at a cost of Rs 13,171 crore at the plant.

    Russia was keen to build two more such reactors for the plant, he said.

    Expressing satisfaction over the progress of the work, he said the process of installation of equipment was going on.
     
  8. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

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    ONGC finds uranium reserve in Assam

    ONGC finds uranium reserve in Assam


    Oil exploration firm Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) Saturday said it has stumbled upon a reserve of uranium while carrying out exploration work in an oilfield in Assam.

    Uranium traces were detected during examination of logs of the Borholla oilfield. Now a joint study is on with the Uranium Corporation to take this entire process forward,” said A.K. Hazarika, director of ONGC’s onshore operations. The oilfield is about 360 km east of Guwahati. There are more than 20 wells in the Borholla oilfield, apart from several abandoned wells.

    With an estimated Rs.5 billion being sanctioned to carry out research and development and pilots for renewable and alternate energy, the two state-run firms have begun examining logs of over 900 oil and gas wells, mainly in Assam, to look for uranium reserves.

    “Now the process is on to ascertain and examine all the wells in Borholla for uranium reserves,” Hazarika told reporters here.

    This is the first time that uranium traces have been found in an Assam oilfield although other north-eastern states like Meghalaya have rich reserves.

    “According to preliminary findings, the uranium reserves could be huge in this area
    ,” another senior ONGC official said.

    Surveys conducted by the atomic energy department indicate there could be up to 10,000 tonnes of uranium in and around Domiasiat, about 150 km west of Meghalaya state capital Shillong, the area considered to have the largest sandstone-type deposits in the country.

    Meghalaya’s uranium ore reserves are spread over a mountainous terrain in deposits varying from eight to 47 metres underground.


    However, Uranium Corp was forced to stop exploration work there in the mid-1990s following protests from villagers. Even now, it has not been able to carry out mining in the state.

    Spurred by the recent findings, ONGC is now contemplating setting up a nuclear power plant if its current collaboration with Uranium Corp results in the discovery of uranium in Assam.

    ONGC Assam’s oil production is now about 1.2 million tonnes annually.

    Assam has over 1.3 billion tonnes of crude oil and 156 billion cubic metres of natural gas reserves, of which about an estimated 58 percent is yet to be explored. India produces about 30 million tonnes of crude oil annually, with Assam accounting for about five million tonnes.

    Apart from ONGC, Oil India Ltd (OIL) is the other major exploration firm operating in the north-eastern state.

    ONGC also has oil and gas exploration and production operations in countries such as Russia, Vietnam and Sudan.
     
  9. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

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    3-day Nuclear expo begins today - Yahoo! India News

    Mumbai, Nov. 14 -- In a first of its kind, Mumbai will play host over the weekend to big international players in the nuclear industry and their Indian counterparts.

    Starting on November 13, the three-day expo at the Bombay Exhibition Centre in Goregaon is poised to become the biggest networking meet after the international Nuclear Suppliers' Group lifted restrictions on its member countries last year from transferring civilian nuclear technology and fuel to India, ending its 34-year-old nuclear isolation. A roadmap for the country's nuclear energy business is likely to emerge after the event, which will provide a platform for collaborations between Indian suppliers and large global players like Germany-based Schott Glass, Areva from France and US-based Schneider Electric.

    "Apart from other energy sources, nuclear energy has the potential to meet the long-term demand for India's energy security," said M. Gandhi, managing director, UBM India Pvt Ltd, organisers of the event. For India, importing nuclear plants will be an expensive affair in the long run.

    "So getting local suppliers to build components for the plant within India based on their technology will help cut both manufacturing and transportation costs, putting us at an advantage," said S.K. Malhotra, public awareness officer, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE). Supported by the Ministry of Power and DAE, the event will host exhibits of 65 companies, offering technology in nuclear energy, conventional and non-conventional energy.
     
  10. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

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    Uranium mining in Meghalaya finally takes shape

    Shillong (Meghalaya), Nov.14 (ANI): A much-awaited uranium-mining project, which promises development of the remote West Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya, is finally taking shape.

    The State government’s decision to allow the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) to implement its pre-project developmental package has elicited a positive response from locals.

    The state has estimated the presence of about 9.22 million tonnes of uranium ore deposits. The UCIL would invest Rs 2.09 billion to undertake pre-developmental project activities to build schools, hospitals, roads and other infrastructure.

    For this purpose, the state government has agreed to release 422 square hectares of land for 30 years to the UCIL.

    “My press conference is to initiate a more serious debate on the merits and demerits of Uranium mining in the benefits and otherwise on allowing UCIL to start uranium mining right now. I hope that through this press conference it will generate more intelligent debates among the people of the state and I think the state government also should not be in a hurry to take a decision right now. They should allow the public air out their views and opinion on uranium mining,” said Micheal Syiem, a social worker.

    “The state government does not have its own fund, it all depends on the central government. So there are still many areas to be developed. So by the fund we receive from the central, it is not enough. So special funds that comes from the government of India that we have found the uranium so it is a blessing to the state. If left to the state alone, it will take years to develop. So now, they have got a road up to Mawthabah from Wahkaji it has been a blessing for them,” said S.H.Shylla, former MLA, West Khasi Hills District.

    There were protests against the mining of Uranium by different organisations in the State citing health hazards.

    However, the Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD) has already executed exploratory mining in the area including processing the ore to yellow cake.

    It has also confirmed that there will be no spill over effect on health either to the inhabitants or the cattle.

    “As a villager of Mawthabah I find that as per the research carried out by the department of Atomic Energy since surveying, drilling up to refining of the yellow cake there is no track of health hazard till date. Even in the place where the grinding machine and the processing plant is laid, now trees have grown and vegetation is green and there are no signs of such affect to the vegetation,” said W.S.Lyngdoh, a villager, Mawthabah.

    Various public hearings at the proposed site for open cast mining have also been organised in which residents and headmen of various villages surrounding the proposed uranium project site participated.

    The State Government has also constituted an expert committee on health to study the implications of uranium mining. (ANI
     
  11. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

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    The Hindu Business Line : RAPS-5 likely to be commissioned soon

    MUMBAI: The newly constructed Rajasthan Atomic Power Station's unit 5 (RAPS-5) of 220 MW located at Rawatbhata, which has come under the fold of international safeguards, is likely to be commissioned soon. The imported Uranium fuel from Russia has alread y been loaded on it under the supervision of IAEA inspectors, Atomic energy department sources said.

    Following the notification of the Separation Plan of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last month under which 14 nuclear plants will be under the umbrella of India Specific Safeguards Agreement (ISSA) of international atomic watchdog, RAPS-5 is the first indigenously built unit that has come under international safeguards, the sources said.

    Notification of Separation Plan of the specified civilian plants and few scientific institutions to IAEA was some of the conditions to enable international civil nuclear co-operation. The procedures for criticality (chain reaction) of RAPS-5 will begin a nytime during the next seven days as the heavy water, as moderator and coolant, is being loaded on this Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR) since yesterday, the sources said.

    By the end of this year, the unit will be synchronised to the northern grid. - PTI
     
  12. RAM

    RAM The southern Man Senior Member

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    Fifth nuclear reactor commissioned in Rajasthan

    The fifth nuclear power reactor of the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station (RAPS-5) at Rawatbhatta, with a capacity of 220 MWe, reached criticality at 12.51 p.m. on Tuesday. This is the 18th nuclear power reactor in India to be commissioned in India. With this, the total nuclear power-generation capacity in India stands now at 4,340 MWe.

    “The operation was very smooth. Everything went off perfectly,” S.K. Jain, Chairman and Managing Director of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) told The Hindu from the Control Room of the RAPS-5 reactor.

    Although RAPS-5 is an indigenous Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR) built by the NPCIL, it uses natural uranium fuel imported from Russia. Hence it will come under the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) safeguards as per the Separation Plan under which India has agreed to put a total of 14 reactors under the safeguards. A few months earlier, the RAPS-2 reactor also started using natural fuel from Russia. The PHWRS use natural uranium as fuel, and heavy water as both coolant and moderator.

    With RAPS-5 reaching criticality on Tuesday, Mr. Jain said, scientists and engineers of the station would conduct reactor physics experiments for a couple of weeks. The reactor would start generating its full power of 220 MWe by the end of December 2009 or the first week of January 2010.

    Anil Kakodkar, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), said nuclear power capacity addition with RAPS-5 going critical was “a good thing.” The reactor was ready for some time and waiting for fuel. “This reactor forms part of the Separation Plan and accordingly, we have fuelled the reactor with imported fuel from Russia,” said Dr. Kakodkar, who is retiring on November 30 as Chairman, AEC and Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy.

    Mr. Jain said, “Commissioning of the sixth reactor at RAPS is in the final stage. We will be ready for loading the fuel into the reactor in the first week of December. In ten days after the fuel is loaded, RAPS-6 will go critical.” It would also use fuel from Russia as part of the Separation Plan and hence come under the IAEA safeguards. RAPS-6 would start generating its full power of 220 MWe in February 2010.

    The fourth reactor at Kaiga Atomic Power Station in Karnataka would be commissioned before the end of this financial year, that is, before March 31, 2010, Mr. Jain added. However, Kaiga-4, with a capacity of 220 MWe, will use indigenous natural uranium fuel from Jaduguda in Jharkhand

    The Hindu : News / National : Fifth nuclear reactor commissioned in Rajasthan
     
  13. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

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    RAPS fifth unit goes critical at Rawatbhatta

    Jaipur, Nov 24 (PTI) The fifth unit of the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station, an indigenous nuclear power reactor of 220 MW, today attained its first criticality at Rawatbhatta in Kota district.

    Dr Anil Kakodkar, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, and Dr SK Jain, CMD of Nuclear Power Corporation Of India Limited (NPCIL) were present on the occasion at the site, an official spokesman said.

    The fifth unit signifies the start of self-sustaining nuclear fission chain reaction in the reactor core. RAPS 5&6 units comprise two Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) of 220 MW each. Four PHWRS with a total installed capacity of 740 MW are already in operation.

    RAPS-5, an indigenous nuclear power reactor has joined the fleet of 17 nuclear power reactor in operation.
     
  14. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

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    Planting of Atomic Energy Projects


    Administrative approval and financial sanction for RAPP-7&8 (2x700Mwe) at Rawatbhata, Rajasthan has been accorded in October 2009. Government has also accorded “in-principle” approval for the Kudankulam Atomic Power Project (KK) Unit – 3 to 6 (4x1000 Mwe) at Kudankulam, Tamil Nadu.

    Work on Rajasthan Atomic Power Project (RAPP) Unit –7&8 has commenced. Completion of the project is planned for 2016-2017. The Nuclear Power Project at Kudankulam is planned to be executed in two stages on twin unit basis. The planning is to start work on KK-3&4 in the year 2010-11 followed by KK-5&6, 3 to 4 years later as the work on KK-3&4 tapers off. The completion period is about 6 years. The approved completion cost of RAPP-7&8 is Rs. 12,320 crore.
     
  15. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

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    Nuclear Power Stations in States


    Nuclear power stations have been built are under construction in Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. Approval has been accorded for setting up additional reactors in Gujarat and Rajasthan, in October 2009. In addition, “in-principle” approval has been accorded for sites for future nuclear power reactors in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.

    Site at Bargi in Mandla district of Madhya Pradesh has been accorded in principle approval for setting up of 2x700 Mwe nuclear power station. The work on the project is planned to be taken up after completion of land acquisition and pre-project activities, estimated to take about two years.
     
  16. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

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    Nuclear Energy from Sea Sand

    In Orissa, Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD) had identified 1.82 million tonnes of Thorium bearing monazite resources. Thorium is a fertile element and can be converted to fissile element to produce Atomic Energy in the 3rd stage of Nuclear Power Programme of India.
     
  17. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

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    Thorium Oxide from Monazite


    Monazite available in India contains about 9 per cent Thorium Oxide. While in technological terms we are ready with the design of Advanced Heavy Water Reactor which would produce around two third of its energy from Thorium, large scale deployment of Thorium for power generation will be mainly in the third stage. This can start once large generation capacity based on fast reactors has been set up in the second stage of our nuclear power programme.
     
  18. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

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    Kakodkar steps down as AEC chairman

    Mumbai, Nov 30 (PTI) Eminent nuclear scientist Anil Kakodkar, who played a crucial role in the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, stepped down as the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) today.

    Kakodkar gave his distinguished services to the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) for 45 years and also served as DAE secretary on superannuation.

    He played a significant role in the Indo-US and other inter-governmental civil nuclear cooperations agreements with great negotiation skills.

    Easily approachable, Kakodkar holds the distinction of getting an extension as AEC chairman three times and held the post for nine years.

    He is the first chairman who initiated talks about modification of Atomic Energy Act to bring in Indian private players in the energy sector.
     
  19. ppgj

    ppgj Senior Member Senior Member

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    November 27, 2009
    It was a challenge all the way, says Anil Kakodkar
    T. S. Subramanian

    [​IMG]
    Dr. Anil Kakodkar. Photo: Vivek Bendre

    Anil Kakodkar , Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), is retiring on November 30 after a 45-year career in the DAE. In this context, he spoke to The Hindu in his office in Mumbai on November 23. Excerpts:

    You have had a distinguished career in the DAE. What was the most satisfying part — getting India out of nuclear isolation by convincing the Nuclear Suppliers Group to waive its guidelines, signing the 123 nuclear agreement with the U.S., building its 540 MWe Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR) at Tarapur or BARC building the Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR) for the nuclear-powered submarine, Arihant?

    I was fortunate enough to see through many important milestones. But the important thing for me is that we are a homogeneous lot today — the entire DAE. There is a high degree of coherence in our strategy to implement our programmes and it looks to me that a thousand minds working in coherence will be formidable. That is the biggest satisfaction for me.

    What was the most challenging assignment of your career?

    Luckily for me, I have been able to engage myself in new things. So, everything was a challenge. Everything new has more excitement compared to something which has gone by.

    Can you give examples?

    For example, the Dhruva reactor is unique even conceptually. It is completely Indian. We began it as a concept and engineered it all the way through. In PHWRs, I had a lot of opportunity in developing different components and various systems. But decidedly, the 540 MWe reactors at Tarapur going critical was a very important moment. The beginning of the construction of the Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) at Kalpakkam was also important — it is not an event completed yet — but one had to go through an assessment of where we were and the capability to do things.

    Of course, building the submarine reactor was an excitement in itself. The nuclear tests — I was involved in both the 1974 and 1998 tests — were challenging. The PHWRs, the opening of civil nuclear cooperation … they are all unique in themselves, each one different, each one full of excitement.

    It is always the new challenge which has more excitement that the old one.

    Can you give me an assessment of what you have been able to achieve as Director, BARC, and Chairman, AEC?

    … The important thing for me is that we have been able to take bold decisions which are right for making rapid technological process. There is the satisfaction, when you look back, that these bold decisions were timely.

    What were the bold decisions?

    To begin with, we decided to adopt electron beam welding for Dhruva. Electron beam welding machine for such a large construction was unthinkable in those days. Even now, not many have adopted it in such large constructions. We did it and that was how we were able to make that unique design.

    There were several bold decisions we took in the context of the submarine reactor — the PWR. I cannot give you the details. We took technologically bold decisions in the repair of the two units at the Madras Atomic Power Station. Conventional wisdom would have led to writing these reactors off. There are many examples like these. But the important thing is that we could pick up enough courage and confidence to take these bold decisions.

    You had your doubts about the 123 agreement with the U.S. You opposed the U.S. demand that India should put its breeder reactors under safeguards. Later, you became a supporter of the agreement. When did you change track?

    The fact is that the energy requirements of our country are very large. As I had mentioned several times at BARC, even with the contribution of different energy sources in the most liberal fashion, you will find that there will be energy deficit in terms of availability. The only way to meet this deficit is to import energy.

    It is clear that when you import energy in the form of fossil fuels, you will have to keep importing it for all time to come. On the other hand, if you import that energy in the form of uranium, you can recycle the uranium used in the reactor because it contains a lot of energy value. In fact, you get more and more energy out of the same fuel. So it becomes an extremely valuable additionality to our indigenous programme because we have a significant multiplier of energy production on the basis of our three-stage programme. We have only a limited quantity of uranium and we can set up only 10,000 MWe of PHWRs using this uranium. But when you recycle this uranium and adopt the three-stage strategy, you can go up to 200,000 MWe. Likewise, whatever uranium we import, we can bring in a similar multiplier on that uranium also if we have gone through the development of the three-stage strategy.

    So the opening of the civil nuclear cooperation not only brings in that additionality but because of the domestic development of the three-stage programme, we will be able to bring in a multiplier on the imported uranium and bridge the shortage for the future. This is what I call the move towards energy independence. For us to be able to do that, the domestic programme must continue, the way it was planned earlier. There should be no constraints on its implementation.

    If there were to be constraints on that, I would have opposed the whole thing. But we have been able to negotiate well and people are also convinced [about it]. So we are in a position to go ahead with the civil nuclear cooperation without hindrance to our domestic programme, and bring in both additionality and energy independence in the long-term. So it was not either my being opposed to or supportive of… It is a pragmatic move forward which benefits the country.

    What exactly is the sticking point with the U.S. on our reprocessing the spent fuel from the reactors to be imported from America because the 123 agreement gives us the upfront reprocessing right? You told a delegation of the U.S.-India Business Council last January that there would be no reactor purchases from the U.S. without reprocessing rights. Has the U.S. gone back on our right to reprocess the spent fuel from its reactors?

    No. The 123 Agreement gives us the upfront reprocessing consent rights. It is a done thing. What the 123 also says is that we have to negotiate and agree on “arrangements and procedures”. What we are discussing now are the details of the “arrangements and procedures.” This work is in progress. We have had a number of rounds of discussions and we are making progress on that with the U.S. As far as other countries are concerned, there is no issue on that.

    The Union Cabinet has approved the Nuclear Liabilities Bill which, it is said, will protect the American companies from demands for compensation if there were to be accidents in the American reactors to be built in India. Why should we do that?

    No. It is not a question of protecting the American companies or any such thing. Our effort to develop the domestic nuclear liability legislation, in fact, predates the start of the discussion on the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal. We have gone through a lot of studies. We appointed external groups to look at the necessity or otherwise of developing civil nuclear liability legislation and what form it should take.

    In case of an unfortunate accident — which is very unlikely — we will have to compensate for the damage caused. Currently, all reactors belong to the government or the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited, which is a government company. So it is a 100 per cent government activity.

    If the scale of compensation is very large, we should be able to mobilise the required funding. It is a kind of insurance. There are four international instruments for mobilising the compensation. So the groups looked at the merits and demerits of joining one of them, and came to the conclusion that India’s best choice would be to be part of the Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC) because this allows, beyond the threshold, tapping international funding for compensation.

    Now the CSC requires a domestic legislation which is consistent with the provisions of the CSC. That is where our action to develop the domestic legislation began. As India expands its nuclear programme with several business partners being a part of such a programme, it is important that we have a proper nuclear liability regime and this is at the core of the development of such legislation.

    “The nuclear tests, the PHWRs, the opening of civil nuclear cooperation … they were all unique, each one different and full of excitement.”

    The Hindu : Opinion / Interview : It was a challenge all the way, says Anil Kakodkar
     
  20. NSG_Blackcats

    NSG_Blackcats Member of The Month OCTOBER 2009 Senior Member

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    India's fast breeder nuclear-reactor achieves second milestone​


    India’s first indigenously designed 500MW fast breeder nuclear power project at Kalpakkam achieved its second milestone when the huge main vessel was lowered into the safety vessel, an official said on Sunday. “We have been waiting to do this for quite sometime but were not permitted by the rain gods. As the sky was clear, we decided to go ahead with the lowering of the main vessel and completed it on Saturday,” Project Director Prabhat Kumar told IANS from Kalpakkam in Tamil Nadu.

    The Rs. 5,600 crore project is being built by the Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited (Bhavini) at the Kalpakkam nuclear enclave, around 80 km from here. A fast breeder reactor is one which breeds more material for a nuclear fission reaction than it consumes and key to India’s three stage nuclear power programme.

    Lowering of the huge stainless steel main vessel - 12.9 metres in diameter and 12.94 metres in height, weighing 206 tonnes - is considered a major step in completing the 500 MW power project by the September 2011 deadline.

    The lowering of main vessel was delayed as civil construction works are on and the officials did not want to risk even a speck of dust inside the vessel that would hold the coolant liquid sodium, reactor fuel and grid plates.

    The sodium-cooled fast reactor designed by the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) has three vessels - a safety vessel, a main vessel and an inner vessel. Outermost is the stainless steel safety vessel, which was lowered into the reactor vault last June - the first milestone.

    The third and smallest of the three vessels is the inner vessel - 11 metres tall. It houses pumps, heat exchangers and other equipment. Together, they all go inside the main vessel. The cone-shaped inner vessel, thermal baffle, grid plate and primary pipes are also ready and officials expect the roof slab of the nuclear reactor to be closed by next March. As for the power generation part of the project, erection of the gas-insulated switchyard is nearing completion and the gas filling process has begun.

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  21. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

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    FOCUS: TIFR IN BHABHA CENTENARY YEAR

    A base for progress




    With its diverse schools, specialised centres and field stations across the country, the TIFR is one of India’s finest research institutions.





    PHOTOGRAPHS: BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT
    [​IMG]
    Homi J. Bhabha discusses the construction of Apsara, India’s first reactor, with colleagues at the TIFR in 1955.

    IN an article in The Hindu on November 13, 2009, (“Securing India’s science future”), N. R. Narayana Murthy, the founder of the global information technology major Infosys, bemoaned that India was lagging behind considerably in the quality and spread of basic science research despite its unique advantage to use technology for progress. “This is a critical lacuna that could well determine the fate not just of our scientific and developmental future but, more importantly, of our progress as a nation,” he said.

    Three days later, the winners of the Infosys Prize, instituted by the Infosys Science Foundation “to honour outstanding researchers who make a difference to India’s scientific future and to motivate youngsters to consider careers in research”, were announced. While no suitable candidate was found for the prize in engineering, all three prizes in basic sciences went to names linked with the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Mumbai, one of the premier research institutions in the country. This is eloquent testimony to the continuing pre-eminence of the institute in the country even six decades and a half after its founding by the great visionary scientist Homi Jehangir Bhabha – when he was barely 36 years old.

    His birth centenary is being celebrated this year. It is also a strong affirmation of Bhabha’s ideas about the characteristics that are essential for a research institution to become world class, in its academic canvas, its ambience and its administration.

    It all began with a letter that Bhabha wrote to his friend and industrialist J.R.D. Tata in August 1943. He was a reader at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, then. Bhabha had come to India from Cambridge on a brief holiday in 1939, but the Second World War forced him to stay back. Bhabha joined the IISc’s physics department, which was headed by Sir C.V. Raman, and established a Cosmic Ray Research Unit (CRRU) there. He also began wondering about the development of science in India and in his letter to Tata expressed his ideas about setting up an institute for fundamental research.

    Interestingly, it was under similar circumstances that Prashanta Chandra Mahalanobis, the scientist-institution builder, also stayed back and established the Indian Statistical Institutes.

    “The lack of proper conditions and intelligent financial support,” Bhabha said in his letter to Tata, “hampers the development of science in India at the pace the talent in the country would warrant.” In his reply, Tata said: “If you and/or some of your colleagues in the scientific world put up concrete proposals backed by a sound case, I think there is a very good chance that the Sir Dorab Tata Trust will respond.”

    Encouraged by this, Bhabha wrote to Sir Dorab Saklatvala, the chairman of the trust, in March 1944. “There is at the moment in India no big school of research in the fundamental problems of physics, both theoretical and experimental. There are, however, scattered all over India competent workers who are not doing as good work as they would do if brought together in one place under proper direction.… n the last two years I have come more and more to the view that provided proper appreciation and financial support are forthcoming, it is one’s duty to stay in one’s own country and build up schools comparable with those that other countries are fortunate in possessing.… I am convinced that within five years we could make Bombay the centre of fundamental physical research in India…. The scheme that I am now submitting to you is but an embryo from which I hope to build up in the course of time a school of physics comparable with the best anywhere.”

    Tata backed Bhabha’s proposal, and on the trust’s approval, the institute was established on June 1, 1945, under a tripartite agreement between the trust, the Government of Bombay and the Government of India. Soon the TIFR emerged as a major research centre on the world map, a standing that it continues to enjoy to this day.

    Though Bhabha’s idea was to set up the institute in Bombay (now Mumbai), it began to function from the CRRU. In six months it moved to Kenilworth, a bungalow owned by Bhabha’s aunt on Peddar Road in Bombay. As Bhabha recounted at the TIFR’s inauguration on December 19, 1945, eight papers were published within those six months by the institute members. Setting high standards for research, the first paper was by Bhabha himself. The paper, “Relativistic Wave Equations for the Elementary Particles”, was published in the special volume of Reviews of Modern Physics issued to commemorate the 60th birthday of Niels Bohr, one of the architects of quantum theory.

    “Theoretical work,” he said in his address, “both the creation of new mathematics and the use of it in the description of nature is to form an important part of the work of this institute.” Soon the institute earned a worldwide reputation for frontranking research in theoretical physics and mathematics. Being adept in theory and experiment and having been instrumental in initiating cosmic ray research in the country in the 1940s, Bhabha also laid the foundations for experimental work at the institute.

    DIVERSE AREAS



    [​IMG]
    The Superconducting linear Accelerator (sLINAC) beam hall at the TIFR. The development of the sLINAC is a milestone in accelerator technology in India.

    Initially, research was confined to theoretical physics, mathematics, cosmic rays and high energy physics – areas of direct interest to Bhabha. But in the years to come, research diversified to include areas such as nuclear physics, nuclear emulsion and electron magnetism, computer science and geophysics. Subsequently, molecular biology and radio astronomy were included and, later, science education as well.

    The nuclear emulsion and the electron magnetism group started in 1953. Work in computer science and technology began in 1954, and the first pilot machine became operational in 1956. The institute pioneered research in the field and the full-scale machine, later named TIFRAC, was commissioned in February 1960. It was the first computer designed in the country.

    Kenilworth was too small a place for such a rapidly expanding institute. In 1949, it was shifted to a location near the Gateway of India. Later it gradually moved to its present location, a 15-acre campus, on the sea-front in the cantonment area in Colaba. On January 15, 1962, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru formally inaugurated the TIFR buildings. Its architecture, aesthetic surroundings and the seaside promenade were designed by the famous Chicago architect Helmuth Bartsch. Nuclear physics was central to Bhabha’s scheme of things and he had emphasised its importance right from the beginning.

    “It is neither possible nor desirable,” he had written to Sir Saklatvala, “to separate nuclear physics from cosmic rays since the two are closely connected theoretically.”

    In the same letter he remarked: “[W]hen nuclear energy has been successfully applied for power generation in say a couple of decades from now, India will not have to look abroad for its experts but will find them readily at hand.” It is these words that laid the seeds for the development of atomic energy programme in India, with the early research and development in the field being carried out at the institute.

    In 1953, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), which was set up in 1948 at the instance of Bhabha, declared the TIFR “the only laboratory of the commission for fundamental research in atomic science”. The tripartite agreement came into force in 1955-56 following which the TIFR was designated as “the national centre of the Government of India for advanced study and fundamental research in nuclear science and mathematics”.

    The agreement envisaged extensive financial support from the government and correspondingly a greater and more permanent representative for it on the Council of Management. Today, over 99 per cent of the institute’s expenditure is borne by the Indian government. The institute comes under the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), which was established in 1958, through which all grants are channelled.

    The philosophy that had guided Bhabha in institution building was that all research in the beginning has to be built around a suitable person. In this he followed the example of Kaiser Wilhelm Society (now the Max Planck Society). He quoted its director in his inaugural address: “In order that its ideals may be fulfilled, it is necessary that the society should keep an intelligent watch on newer currents in scientific investigations and try to further its ideals by creating facilities for the new lines of investigations and by getting the right man for them.” He scrupulously stuck to this principle. His own stature attracted talented researchers from various fields to the TIFR and this increased the range and depth of activities at the institute.

    SCHOOLS & CENTRES

    For instance, in the early 1960s, both Bhabha and Mahalanobis identified Obaid Siddiqui as the right person to establish a school of biology at the TIFR and the ISI respectively. But Siddiqui joined the TIFR and built up a flourishing school of biological sciences. The school catalysed the growth of molecular biology research across the country.

    Similarly, Bhabha attracted Govind Swarup from the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in New Delhi to start radio astronomy research at the TIFR. Swarup built an innovatively designed large equatorially mounted cylindrical Ooty Radio Telescope (ORT) at Udhagamandalam in Tamil Nadu. The research that followed made the institute a major radio astronomy centre in the world.



    [​IMG]
    The chemical dynamics laboratory at the TIFR. Studies on the structures of nucleic acids and proteins, the dynamics of protein folding and unfolding, the chemical basis of neuronal communication, and so on are carried out at the institute.

    Bhabha died in an air crash in 1966. In the 1970s, the institute included theoretical astrophysics and science education. Science education was not in its original mandate, but Bhabha was thinking about it as some of his letters to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru suggest. So, given its importance in society and with competent people at hand, the discipline became part of the institute’s charter.

    The next two decades saw further expansion of the range of research activities and the founding of TIFR centres in other cities. With radio astronomy research at the institute making great strides and the proposal to set up a Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) at Khodad near Pune taking shape, the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA) was established in Pune. A major part of the NCRA’s research involves observations with the GMRT, the largest telescope at metre wavelengths in the world, which attracts radio astronomers from different countries. In its grand design and objectives, it is a worthy successor to the ORT.

    Research in pure mathematics saw an expansion into more application-oriented areas in the 1970s, and this resulted in the Centre for Applicable Mathematics (CAM) in Bangalore. The Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE) was an offshoot of the increasing activities relating to school- and college-level science education.

    With biology assuming centre stage in basic research all over the world and with the growing breadth of biological research at the institute, the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) was founded in Bangalore. It is a world-class centre today. And the latest in such efforts is the International Centre for Theoretical Sciences (ICTS), which was founded in 2007 for interdisciplinary research.

    In addition, the TIFR has field stations and facilities across the country: the National Balloon Facility (NBF) in Hyderabad, the Cosmic Ray Laboratory at Udhagamandalam, the Gravitation Laboratory at Gauribidanur in Karnataka, the High Energy Gamma Ray Laboratories at Pachmarhi in Madhya Pradesh and Hanle in Ladakh.

    The work at the institute is carried out in three schools: mathematics, natural sciences, and technology and computer sciences. From its inception, the School of Mathematics has been internationally regarded for the quality of its research. Over the years it has attracted the best scientists in the world of mathematics to come and spend sabbaticals. In recognition of this, from 1956, the International Mathematical Union (IMU) instituted an international colloquium that is held every four years at the TIFR.

    The Department of Theoretical Physics is known worldwide for its activities in front-line research areas. Today it has a vibrant group of young string theorists whose work is at the forefront of string theory. Research in quark-gluon plasma in the department has contributed significantly to the development of the field globally. The institute acquired an advanced supercomputer a few years ago to carry out highly computation-intensive work in the field. Studies in recent years have spanned beyond the traditional areas to include self-organised criticality, dimer coverings on lattices, the phase diagram of DNA, rapidly driven systems and quantum wires.

    Cosmic ray research, an activity that came with Bhabha himself, forms part of the general area of high energy physics research at the institute.

    COLLABORATIONS

    The institute has had a long-standing tradition of international collaborations. The first deep underground neutrino experiments in the Kolar Gold Fields were carried out in collaboration with Japanese scientists. In recent years, the institute’s high energy physicists were part of major experiments at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, with Fermilab in the United States and with KEK in Japan. In fact, TIFR scientists made key contributions to the Large Electron-Positron collider experiments. They have a significant role in one of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiments as well. The TIFR is one of the Tier-2 GRID computing centres for data handling from the LHC experiments.

    Having pioneered underground neutrino research, TIFR scientists are involved in setting up an underground India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) following the closure of the Kolar mines. Balloon-based cosmic ray research is also conducted at an altitude of 40 km with the help of the NBF. Studies on the magnetic properties of solids that began in the 1950s using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) and nuclear spectroscopy techniques led to the formation of the Department of Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Science.

    The discovery of borocarbides, a class of high-temperature superconductors, at the TIFR has had a significant international impact. The department has also been engaged in the design and development of novel optoelectronic devices based on semiconductors, and thin superconducting films have been developed using laser techniques. Recently, researchers have initiated activities in soft condensed matter, an emerging field, which has already resulted in some interesting findings.

    [​IMG]
    Graduate students are an integral part of research at the TIFR. Currently, the institute’s graduate school has about 300 students.
     

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