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For All Defence Aspirants India’s Three Stage Nuclear Power Programme

For All Defence Aspirants India’s Three Stage Nuclear Power Programme

India’s Three Stage Nuclear Power Programme

Introduction

India’s Three Stage Nuclear Power Programme Was Formulated By The Father Of India’s Nuclear Programme ,Homi Bhabha In The 1950s.

The Aim Was To Secure The Country’s Long Term Energy Independence Through The Use Of Uranium And Thorium Reserves Found In The Monetize Sands Of Coastal Regions Of South India.

Why Thorium Is Attractive For India?

India Has Only Around 1-2% Of The Global Uranium Reserves ;Just Enough For Fuelling The Power Needs For 30 Years .However, It Has One Of The Largest Thorium Reserves In The World.

Thorium Is Said To Be More Efficient And Releases Less Radioactive Waste Than Uranium And Plutonium.

The Indo -US Nuclear Deal And The NSG Waiver, Which Ended More Than Three Decades Of International Isolation Of The Indian Civil Nuclear Programme ,Have Created New Opportunities For India’s Three Stage Nuclear Power Programme.

Stage -I Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR)

Fuel Used -Uranium

Moderator And Coolant-Heavy Water And Light Water

In The First Stage Of The Programme ,Natural Uranium Fuelled Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR) Produce Electricity While Generating Plutonium -239 As A By-Product.

U-238 Plutonium 239+ Heat

Stage II Fast Breeder Reactor (FBR)

Fuel -Mixture Of Uranium -238 And Plutonium -239 No Moderator Is Needed: Sodium Is Used As Coolant.

In This Stage, Fast Breeder Reactors (FBR) Will Use Plutonium -239 Recovered By Reprocessing The Spent Fuel From The First Stage And Natural Uranium.

In Fbrs ,Plutonium Undergoes Fission To Produce Energy ,While The Uranium -238 Fission To Produce Energy Transmutes To Additional Plutonium -239

Stage -III

Stage-III Reactor Involves A Self-Sustaining Series Of Thorium -232-Uranium -233 Fuelled Reactors.

This Is A Thermal Breeder Reactor, Which In Principle Can Be Refuelled After Its Initial Fuel Charge Using Only Naturally Occurring Thorium.

Due To Slow Development Of Fast Breeder Reactors(FBR),There Is A Long Delay Before Direct Thorium Utilisation In The Three-Stage Programme.Thus,India Is Now Looking At Reactor Designs That Allow More Direct Use Of Thorium In Parallel With The Sequential Three-Stage Programme.

Problems Faced By India

Shortage Of Uranium Fuel Needed To Convert Fertile Fuel(Thorium) Into Fissile Fuel That Can Undergo Sustained Chain Reaction.

India Has Chosen The Unique Path Of Going Ahead With Thorium Based Reactor Where It Has To Develop All The Required Technology On Its Own.

Fissile Material

A Fissile Material Also Called A Driver Is One That Can Drive And Sustain A Chain Reaction Upon Bombardment By Neutrons And Produces Energy.

Thorium Itself Is Fertile, Meaning That It Can Transmute Into A Fissile Radioisotope (U-233) But Cannot Itself Keep A Chain Reaction Going.

Present State Of Nuclear Power Programme

After Decades Of Operating Pressurized Heavy -Water Reactors (PHWR) India Is Finally Ready To Start The Second Stage.

A 500 MW Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) At Kalpakkan Is Set To Achieve Critically In 2019.

In Addition ,Two More Fast Breeder Reactors (FBR) 1 & 2 (2x 600 MW) Are Proposed At Kalpak Am.

Challenges

The Strong Non-Proliferation Lobby In The U.S And Other Nuclear Nations Would Not Like A Non-Signatory Of The NPT (India)   To Open And Regulate Trade In Plutonium Which Is Essential For 3-Stage Nuclear Program me.

Comments

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Er. HartaJ is one of the main Instructors and a part of the team At NCA. He himself has cleared the SSB process thrice, but as per his grandfather's Late Lt. Col H.S.Dhaliwal Wish he is continuing teaching and making officers. Been associated with New Careers Academy for the last 8 years, he also has been succefull in making Second and Third Generation Of officers. Once Taught by his Grandfather and Father Capt. Dhaliwal. He is know all across with students for the way he teaches and he is more of a role model for them .