The first prototype fast breeder nuclear reactor being set up at Kalpakkam in Tamil Nadu may be ready by the end of the year, according to R Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Union Government.
“It will pave the way for the second stage of the three-stage nuclear power development programme,” he told the reporters here on Wednesday.
He was here to deliver Dr P Brahmayya Sastry Memorial lecture and receive an award. He said that while the first stage involved setting up of Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs), the second stage will see a series of fast breeder reactors making use of a mix of uranium and plutonium as fuel.
Later, the country will take up the third stage of the nuclear power programme by setting up thorium based reactors. It is crucial as India has significant thorium reserves, but no uranium reserves.
He said India’s installed nuclear power capacity is currently 6,780 MW from 22 operational plants, with 6,700 MW expected to be added by 2021-22. The Government has set a target of achieving nuclear power capacity of 14,000 MW by 2024. The Union Cabinet recently approved construction of 10 PHWRs. “It is good to sanction nuclear power projects in a bunch. It will help suppliers set up assembly lines on a large scale,” he added.