New Delhi, Aug 25: India
today unveiled before the international community its revolutionary design of
a Thorium Breeder Reactor (ATBR) that can produce 600 MW of electricity for
two years "with no refuelling and practically no control
by scientists of Mumbai-based Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), ATBR is
claimed to be far more economical and safer than any power reactor in the
world. Most significantly for India,
ATBR does not require natural or enriched uranium, which the country is
finding difficult to import.
uses thorium -- which India
has in plenty -- and only requires plutonium as "seed" to ignite
the reactor core initially.
ATBR can be running entirely with thorium and fissile uranium-233 bred inside
the reactor (or obtained externally by converting fertile thorium into fissile
Uranium-233 by neutron bombardment).
scientists V Jagannathan and Usha Pal revealed the ATBR design in their paper
presented today at the week-long "International conference on emerging
nuclear energy systems" in Brussels.
design has been in the making for over seven years. According to the
scientists, the ATBR, while annually consuming 880 kg of plutonium for energy
production from "seed" rods, converts 1,100 kg of thorium into
fissionable uranium-233. "This differential gain in fissile formation
makes ATBR a kind of thorium breeder," they said. (Agencies)