India Nuclear News and Discussion 4 July 2011

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chetak
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Re: India Nuclear News and Discussion 4 July 2011

Postby chetak » 13 Sep 2018 20:58

Varoon Shekhar wrote:A bit puzzling and dismaying, that we have not heard of the commissioning of any new reactor, for a long time now. There are 4 under construction at Rajasthan and Gujarat. No detailed status update, even on NPC's website. No report on Apsara-2, PFBR, AHWR..


The FBR should have some news soon enough.

They seem to have overcome most of their issues for now.

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Re: India Nuclear News and Discussion 4 July 2011

Postby Amber G. » 14 Sep 2018 01:40

^^^
No report on Apsara-2,

IMO for obvious reasons, people sort of keep quiet (or newspapers are not that interested) in news about happenings in nuclear power unless it is very major news. But still Apsara-2, I think may have been in main-stream news,,

I think BARC has announced that after, what 9 years or so of waiting Apsara-2 is recommissioned.

Apsara began around 1955 - HEU as fuel and has been used for around 50 years or so for research, medical isotopes and things like that. (It got shut down in 2009)

New version of Apsara, significantly modern, with LEU and dispersion fuel plates with about 2MW power, I believe has reached criticality recently. IMO it really shows the caliber of newer scientists and engineers to build complex facilities for health care. Apart for research in Physics main result is significant increase in production of radioisotopes for medicine which India can use and even export.

I believe it is nothing to sneeze at. :)
***Added later -- Just did a google search, and I found that the news is there in most main stream newspapers too.. for example:
https://www.firstpost.com/tech/science/apsara-u-asias-first-research-reactor-restored-and-now-operational-at-barc-5167451.html

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Re: India Nuclear News and Discussion 4 July 2011

Postby Amber G. » 14 Sep 2018 01:53

^^^TO add: FWIW * (My personal views):
DAE Chairman Sekhar Basu seemed pretty happy in one of the talk he gave and said something like " India's Department of Atomic Energy performed "exceptionally well" in 2017. Also there is concentrated effort to get more nuclear physicists and engineers trained in India from it's top schools, so that they can support and build new facilities.

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Re: India Nuclear News and Discussion 4 July 2011

Postby SSridhar » 14 Sep 2018 08:41

INMAS develops India’s first indigenous anti-nuclear medical kit - PTI
In a major shot in the arm for paramilitary and police forces, scientists at a central research institute claim to have developed India’s first indigenous medical kit that may ensure protection from serious injuries and faster healing of wounds resulting from nuclear warfare or radioactive leakage.

The kit, developed after two decades of work by the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS) here [New Delhi], has over 25 items, including radio-protectors that provide 80-90 per cent protection against radiation and nerve gas agents, bandages that absorb radiation as well as tablets and ointments.

Developed in India for the first time, it’s a potent alternative to similar kits that were till now being procured from strategically advanced nations such as the US and Russia
at much higher prices, INMAS Director A K Singh told PTI.

The contents include an advanced form of Prussian blue tablets, highly effective in incorporating Radio Cesium (Cs-137) and Radio Thallium, among the most feared radioisotopes in nuclear bombs that destroy human body cells.

The tablet provides 100 per cent absorption from the gut and other portals of entry to the human body, according to documents inside the medical kit accessed by PTI.

According to INMAS, the kit has been developed for the armed, paramilitary and police forces only as they are the first ones likely to get exposed to radiation -- be it during nuclear, chemical and biomedical (NCB) warfare or a rescue operation after a nuclear accident.

The kit also has an Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) injection that traps uranium in the guts and blood of victims during a nuclear accident or warfare.

The kit also has Ca-EDTA Respiratory Fluid, which is the inhalation formula for chelation, or grabbing, of heavy metals and radioactive elements deposited in lungs through inhalation at nuclear accident sites.

When EDTA is injected into the veins, it “grabs” heavy metals and minerals and removes them from the body.

The medicine reduces the body burden of radioactivity by 30-40 per cent in controlled conditions and is highly useful for the rescue teams and victims after a nuclear accident.

According to INMAS, different paramilitary forces are processing Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with the Institute for seamless procurement of the product.

In some ways, medical and health issues faced by the military and the paramilitary are quite different to that of the general public. The three areas of particular concern to the defence sector are high altitudes, war injuries and NBC warfare,” Singh told PTI.

Stating that the pharmaceutical industry is a mere spectator due to the limited commercial scope in such products, Singh said, Government sponsored research is the only way forward in this area with practically no import potential.”

INMAS, the medical face of DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) doubles up for the paramilitary also because there is no medical research in Bureau of Police R&D, he added.

‘Made in India’ medical kit

He said the drugs in the medical kit are ‘Made in India’, without any foreign counterpart and come with the tag of cost-effective and industrial networking.

Aseem Bhatnagar, additional director at INMAS, noted that the kit has Radioactive Blood Mopping Dressing -- a special kind of bandage that absorbs radiation.

During radioactive accidents, he explained, thousands of patients may be rushed to hospitals. In several cases, if not most, they will also have traumatic, orthopaedic, surgical injuries or burns.

The blood of such patients will have radioactive elements and will require wound dressing with significantly higher absorption capacity so that nothing leaks and infects others.

Such highly absorptive dressings and gauze also make it safer for the medical staff to handle radioactive patients as the chance of their own contamination is reduced, Bhatnagar told PTI.

The kit also has a radioactive urine/biofluid collector which is cost-effective, easy to store and can safely dispose of the urine of a person affected by radiation.

Bhatnagar explained that the collector has silk at its base, more than enough to jellify 500 millilitre of urine, which could be disposed of safely.

The kit has anti-gamma ray skin ointment that protects and heals the radiation damage on the skin.

Also part of the kit is the amifostine injection, a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved conventional radiopharmaceutical that limits damage from gamma radiation.

However, due to a very small market, availability is a major issue.

Another medicine in the form of a tablet is Indranil 150 mg. It is being introduced as a reserve emergency drug for services, rescue workers and places where high acute exposures are expected and lives will be at stake.

Preliminary tests have shown the efficacy of the therapeutic dose and the result shows 80-85 per cent animals may survive at 100 per cent lethal gamma radiation if given as a prophylactic, said Bhatnagar.

While INSAS gets set to ramp up production of the kits for the security forces, doctors at AIIMS feel the kits can be made available to civilians at a later stage.

“Such medicines will help everyone and not just soldiers. This will also help the victims affected in terrorist attacks, Rajesh Malhotra, head of Trauma Centre at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, said, adding that the kits will benefit civilians in case of a nuclear accident.

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Re: India Nuclear News and Discussion 4 July 2011

Postby sanjaykumar » 14 Sep 2018 08:50

This is a much better piece than what usually passes as journalism. I actually learned something.

SSridhar
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Re: India Nuclear News and Discussion 4 July 2011

Postby SSridhar » 18 Oct 2018 10:34

Great News folks.

The 500 MW FBR at IGCAR would start within the next two months, as per the Director of IGCAR (From a vernacular newspaper).

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Re: India Nuclear News and Discussion 4 July 2011

Postby arshyam » 18 Oct 2018 18:28

^^ Excellent news! Slowly but surely, we are inching toward the 3rd stage.

Varoon Shekhar
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Re: India Nuclear News and Discussion 4 July 2011

Postby Varoon Shekhar » 18 Oct 2018 18:31

^
It's about time! :) Pre-commissioning trials of PFBR must be on now.

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Re: India Nuclear News and Discussion 4 July 2011

Postby Vips » 18 Oct 2018 19:01

This good news. Per earlier reports it was pushed to sometime in 2019.

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Re: India Nuclear News and Discussion 4 July 2011

Postby Vips » 20 Oct 2018 04:30

Why India wants to turn its beaches into nuclear fuel.

The tropical beaches of India probably bring to mind sun-dappled palms, fiery fish curries and dreadlocked backpackers, but they also hold a surprising secret. Their sands are rich in thorium – often hailed as a cleaner, safer alternative to conventional nuclear fuels.

The country has long been eager to exploit its estimated 300,000 to 850,000 tonnes of thorium – quite probably the world’s largest reserves – but progress has been slow. Their effort is coming back into focus amid renewed interest in the technology. Last year Dutch scientists fired up the first new experimental thorium reactor in decades, start-ups are promoting the technology in the West and last year China pledged to spend $3.3bn to develop reactors that could eventually run on thorium.

Proponents say it promises carbon-free power with less dangerous waste, lower risk of meltdowns and a much harder route to weaponisation than conventional nuclear. But rapid advances in renewables, a costly development path and question marks over how safe and clean future plants would really be mean its journey to commercialisation looks uncertain.

India’s pursuit of thorium is driven by unique historical and geographic conditions, which have given it considerable staying power. Some see a quixotic quest unlikely to live up to its promise, but the country’s nuclear scientists see a long-term strategy for carbon-free energy security in a country whose population could peak at 1.7 billion in 2060.

“We are a power hungry nation,” says Srikumar Banerjee, secretary of India’s Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) until 2012. “Eventually we need to rely on indigenous raw materials for the long-term sustainability of a country which is going to support one fifth of humanity.”

India is pouring vast sums into its nuclear programme, which includes the four heavy water reactors at Kaiga, Karnataka (Credit: Getty Images)
The West’s development of nuclear energy was inextricably linked to the development of atomic bombs

Today all commercial nuclear plants run on uranium, a fact at least partly down to geopolitics. The West’s development of nuclear energy was inextricably linked to the development of atomic bombs and uranium’s by-products are much easier to weaponise. “In a different era maybe a different choice would be made and we'd have headed down the thorium route in the 1950s instead, but we are we are where we are,” says Geoff Parks, a nuclear engineer at Cambridge University.

India’s strategy was governed by different calculus. The country’s meagre uranium deposits convinced the founding father of its nuclear programme, Homi Bhabha, that any long-term strategy must exploit thorium, its most abundant fuel, which inspired a three-stage programme that is still the central plank of India’s nuclear energy policy.

Thorium doesn’t spontaneously undergo fission – when an atom’s nucleus splits and releases energy that can generate electricity. Left to its own devices it decays very slowly, giving off alpha radiation that can’t even penetrate human skin, so holidaymakers don’t need to worry about sunbathing on thorium-rich beaches.

To turn it into nuclear fuel, it needs to be combined with a fissile material like plutonium, which releases neutrons as it undergoes fission. These are captured by thorium atoms, converting them into a fissile isotope of uranium called U233. An isotype is a variant of an element with a different number of neutrons.

“Thorium is like wet wood,” says Ratan Kumar Sinha, who succeeded Banerjee as DAE secretary before leaving the post in 2015. He explains that wet wood is no good at starting a fire, but once it’s placed in a furnace burning dry wood, it can catch light. The first two stages of India’s strategy are therefore aimed at converting its abundant thorium reserves into fissile material.

First, conventional uranium-fuelled reactors produce plutonium as a by-product. The next stage combines this with more uranium in ‘fast breeder’ reactors that generate more plutonium than they use. That’s used to build more breeder reactors, and once the fleet is large enough they switch to converting thorium into U233. The final stage combines U233 with more thorium to kick-start self-sustaining ‘thermal breeder’ reactors that can be refuelled using raw thorium.

Realising Bhaba’s vision has proved challenging though. The West’s focus on uranium means that India has been ploughing a lone furrow for some time and its nuclear weapons programme and refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty saw it isolated from global trade in nuclear technology and fuel for decades.

The lifting of those barriers, following the 2008 India–United States Civil Nuclear Agreement, should speed progress says, Sinha. But while the country developed uranium-powered Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR) in the 1970s, the second stage has been a long time coming. An experimental breeder reactor that came online in 1985 has still not reached its 40MW designed capacity. The country’s 500MW Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) – the blueprint for a future fleet – is targeted to come online this year, but the first official launch date was 2010. In other words, it’s far from guaranteed.

India will also need to build up operational experience before any expansion, says Banerjee, and it will take time to breed the required fuel – roughly 10 years to double the plutonium to build another reactor. It’s even longer for thorium, which is why plutonium will be used to build out the network before switching to thorium conversion. Extracting U233 from the spent thorium also poses daunting challenges, because another by-product of the fuel cycle is U232, which emits highly radioactive gamma rays. Researchers at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) have demonstrated the process experimentally but doing so at scale will require facilities with heavy radiation shielding and complex robotics to isolate workers.

The design of India’s first reactor that could burn thorium is complete – the Advanced Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR). But construction is not imminent, and Sinha, who led the design, stresses it’s not a blueprint for the third stage. It will still need fissile material top-ups and is aimed more at providing experience with the fuel cycle and demonstrating new safety features.

An eventual third stage reactor will be a self-sustaining ‘thermal breeder’ that needs U233 and thorium to get started, but can then be refuelled with natural thorium. The specific design of that reactor is an open question, but the consensus is that reactors using a molten salt mixture as both fuel and coolant are the most promising. That’s a design pursued by proponents in the West and China and early R&D is underway in India.

Even India’s nuclear establishment admits the country is unlikely to generate substantial energy from thorium until at least the 2050s. Others are more sanguine. “Thorium has been talked about for 70 years now and it will continue to be talked about in the future tense, I think, for the conceivable future,” says M. V. Ramana, a professor at the University of British Columbia, Canada, who has written several books about India’s nuclear policy.

One frequently touted benefit is safety, because thorium reactors should be less prone to meltdowns

Conventional nuclear is already economically unconvincing, he says, so adding the cost of developing thorium-friendly reactors and complex fuel reprocessing is untenable. Proponents say thorium’s advantages outweigh these costs, but he thinks the case is overstated. One frequently touted benefit is safety, because thorium reactors should be less prone to meltdowns; but Ramana says you can’t predict possible failure routes until full-scale models are running. “Chernobyl and Fukushima and so on, they were all accidents that were not supposed to happen," he adds.

While the presence of U232 means thorium waste is more hazardous in the short-term, its particular mix of isotopes are less hazardous over longer periods due to the amount and type of radiation it releases. That means it's likely to be easier to handle and store in the long-term, says Cambridge’s Parks, but the benefits are marginal and possibly of limited relevance, considering we’ve still not found a convincing way to deal with existing nuclear waste. Perhaps the most compelling advantage is the difficulty of weaponising it, he adds. U233 can make atomic bombs but the complex processing makes it unattractive.

None of these potential benefits are what’s really driving India’s program though, says Ramamurti Rajaraman, a physics professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. “It's partly institutional pride,” he says. The nuclear establishment is loath to abandon a longstanding flagship program. But more importantly Bhaba’s argument for self-sufficiency has remained potent, he adds, particularly following the country’s period of nuclear isolation.

India is trying to meet booming energy demands while weaning itself off a chronic coal addiction. Renewables are undoubtedly part of the picture, says Anil Kakodkar, another former DAE secretary now on India’s Atomic Energy Commission. The country plans to reach 175GW of installed renewable energy capacity by 2022; it’s fourth in the world for installed wind capacity and fifth for solar. But sun and wind are too intermittent to power the whole country. “Nuclear is the only option for such large-scale baseload generation that is non-fossil," he says. "And in the Indian case it has to be essentially from thorium."

Whether self-sufficiency is necessary for energy security is up for debate. When Bhaba devised India’s strategy global uranium deposits were believed to be smaller and rapid nuclear expansion was expected to put pressure on supplies. But global nuclear capacity has been in decline since the 1990s and uranium is more prevalent than first thought.

William Nuttall, a professor at the Open University specialising in energy policy, understands how India’s historical perspective could make thorium attractive. But there’s little sign of an impending squeeze on uranium, so global markets provide a sustainable route to energy security, he says. It’s also entirely possible to decarbonise without nuclear. “Nuclear has attributes that mean it's beneficial in respect to climate change and energy security, but its case is not manifest,” he says.

India isn’t putting all its eggs in one basket though. Besides its continuing work on wind and solar energy, the government approved construction for 12 new heavy-water reactors to add to the 22 in operation and 9 under construction. It’s also exploring deals for foreign-designed reactors with Russia, France and the US. But given its progress so far, Parks thinks thorium makes sense as a long-term hedge for India. “They should be commended for having had a plan and stuck to it,” he adds. “I wish the UK could be accused of the same.”

Even India’s nuclear scientists doubt thorium’s prospects in developed countries though. With little headroom in energy consumption and established uranium-based technology, they’ve little incentive to risk switching tracks, says Kakodkar. The opportunity is booming energy consumption in the developing world where he sees thorium’s abundance and proliferation-resistance making it a promising carbon-free baseload provider.

“If you really want to move toward carbon-free energy for the world, I don't see how it can happen without nuclear and I don't see how nuclear can grow without thorium,” he adds. “So somebody has to take the lead.”

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Re: India Nuclear News and Discussion 4 July 2011

Postby SaiK » 22 Oct 2018 21:18


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Re: India Nuclear News and Discussion 4 July 2011

Postby SaiK » 26 Oct 2018 05:36

Indian reactor breaks operating record

http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Artic ... ing-record

Unit 1 of India's Kaiga nuclear power plant has completed its 895th day of continuous operation, a new world record for continuous operation of a pressurised heavy water reactor (PHWR) and the second-longest for a nuclear power reactor of any type.



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