i wish this were totally true. if it were, india could say "up yours" to the nuclear suppliers' group and to mulford the american ambassador.
india's future cannot depend on uranium-powered reactors. that would be suicidal, as others have all the uranium in the world.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Jan 30, 2006 12:22 AM
Subject: Scientists announce new concept of reactor
To: Rajeev Srinivasan < email@example.com>
- NDTV Correspondent
Sunday, January 29, 2006 (New Delhi):
The new reactor can run on thorium, that India has in plenty, and a small amount of "seed" plutonium, which India can recover from its spent fuel that has been accumulating over the years.
Called "A Thorium Breeder Reactor" (ATBR), it has been evolved by scientists of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in Mumbai and has already attracted international attention.
"The ATBR combines the merits of existing heavy water and light water reactor technologies and is tailor-made for large scale utilisation of thorium," BARC Physicists V Jagannathan and Uma Pal announced in a paper published in the journal Current Science.
One of the unique features of the ATBR concept is loading of thorium oxide fuel rods in specially designed "flux trap" or fissile breeding zones, according to the journal which featured the new reactor concept on the cover page.
With an initial charge of about 2.2 tonnes of reactor grade plutonium, the predominantly thorium loaded core of ATBR "is capable of delivering incessant energy of 600 MW for two years with no refuelling and with no significant mechanical control manoeuvres," the Physicists reported.
"The (plutonium) fissile seed remains conserved for a long duration of six years (three fuel cycles) due to its location in the fuel cluster."
Fuel cycle duration
Scientists said they have been able to prolong the nuclear energy extraction process by designing in such a way that the number of fissile atoms consumed are replenished with new fissile atoms in the same reactor and within the same fuel cycle duration.
"This would require a delicate balance of the fissile depletion and production rates at all times," they said.
This does not happen in the present-day power reactors because fissile depletion is normally at a much higher rate than the rate of production of new ones. (PTI)