Fast thorium reactor at Kalpakkam, India gets green light
- View SourceThe 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.
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Copyright 2003 Kasturi & Sons Ltd (KSL)
September 3, 2003
HEADLINE: KALPAKKAM TO GET NEXT GENERATION FAST BREEDER REACTOR
BYLINE: Our Special Correspondent