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Fast thorium reactor at Kalpakkam, India gets green light

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  • Chris Allen
    The Union Cabinet today cleared the Department of Atomic Energy s proposal to set up a 500 MW prototype of the next generation fast breeder nuclear power
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 2, 2003
      The Union Cabinet today cleared the Department of Atomic Energy's
      proposal to set up a 500 MW prototype of the next generation fast
      breeder nuclear power reactor at Kalpakkam on the outskirts of
      Chennai at a cost of Rs. 3,492 crores [761 million USD].

      The decision is a dream come true for atomic energy establishment
      in the country as it sets the stage for the unfolding of the
      commercial possibilities for exploitation of Thorium. Right from
      the beginning of the atomic energy programme in the country,
      scientists have been itching to develop the technology for using
      Thorium on two grounds. Firstly, it has larger energy potential
      than Uranium, the traditional raw material for nuclear reactors
      and secondly India had greater reserves of Thorium than Uranium.
      Indian Thorium reserves are estimated at five to six times that
      of Uranium. Announcing the Cabinet's decision, a spokesperson of
      the Government said, the prototype fast breeder reactor is
      expected to be ready for commercial operation in eight years.

      It would generate 2,585 million units of energy a year at a capacity
      factor of 62.8 per cent and help meet the increasing energy demand of
      Tamil Nadu and other southern States.

      The Cabinet also approved a proposal to set up a new Uranium ore
      processing mill as part of the Uranium Ore Mining and Milling Project
      at Banduhurang in Jharkand. Estimated to cost Rs. 343 crores [74.8
      million USD], the project would have a capacity to process 2,250
      tonnes of dry ore a day.

      The Cabinet further cleared a new initiative for development of
      backward districts, with an outlay of Rs. 5,940 crores [1.3 billion
      USD] to be spent over three years.

      The programme would cover 132 districts, with each district receiving
      Rs.15 crores [327,000 USD] a year. An important focus of the
      programme will be development of districts affected by left wing

      In addition, the meeting decided to promulgate an order setting out
      service conditions for employees of shops and other commercial
      establishments in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

      The Union Territory, which is fast becoming a major tourist spot, now
      has no law regulating the conditions of service for persons employed
      in shops and other commercial establishments.

      It also decided to increase the rates of scholarship and the annual
      grant given under the scheme of pre-matric scholarship for the
      children of those engaged in unclean occupation.

      Further, the Cabinet gave its nod for setting up a joint working
      group with Turkey for combating terrorism.

      India and Turkey had entered into a formal agreement to cooperate in
      the fight against terrorism during the visit of Home Minister, L.K.
      Advani, to Turkey in June, 2001.

      Copyright 2003 Financial Times Information
      All rights reserved
      Global News Wire - Asia Africa Intelligence Wire
      Copyright 2003 Kasturi & Sons Ltd (KSL)
      The Hindu
      September 3, 2003
      BYLINE: Our Special Correspondent
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