India Plans To Build More Nuclear Power Plants:
According to the Union Government, India plans to build more nuclear power plants to increase the production of clean energy.
- The government has recently approved five new sites for nuclear power plants and given the financial go-ahead to build 10 700-MW pressurized heavy water reactors.
- India has a 3-stage nuclear programme.
- The 3-stage nuclear programme is developed with the aim of utilizing the vast Thorium reserves in India (about 25% of the world)
- Besides India has limited availability of Uranium reserves (about 2% of the world’s uranium reserves)
- 1st Stage :Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors are based on natural uranium that contains 99.3% U-238 and 0.7% U-235.U-235 being fissile sets up the chain reaction and U-238 being non-fissile gets converted to Pu-239 as a byproduct (spent fuel) which is in turn used in the Fast Breeder Reactors in the 2nd
- 2nd Stage :Fast Breeder Reactors are primarily based on Plutonium. Further the breeder reactors use mix of Plutonium-239 produced in the 1st stage and U-238 that is abundantly found on earth to produce Plutonium inside the reactor.
- 3rd Stage :Thermal Breeder Reactors uses U-233 that is produced in the 2nd stage using thorium-232.
- Thorium is also not radioactive and thus not fissile.
- Since these reactors also produce U-233 out of Thorium-232 they are called breeder reactors.
- India has abundant thorium reserves in the form of monazite sand, and therefore the 3rd stage is critical for India’s nuclear energy basket.