23 Jul '16, 7am

Q&A: #Thorium Reactor Designer Ratan Kumar Sinha

Given its limited reserves of natural uranium and its abundant supply of thorium, India has chalked out a unique three-stage nuclear program . In the first stage, pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs)--similar to those used in advanced industrial countries--burn natural uranium. In the second stage, fast-breeder reactors, which other countries have tried to commercialize without success, will burn plutonium derived from standard power reactors to stretch fuel efficiency. In the key third stage, on which India's long-term nuclear energy supply depends, power reactors will run on thorium and uranium-233 (an isotope that does not occur naturally). Scientists and engineers at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, in Mumbai, have designed a novel advanced heavy water reactor to burn thorium. They say that because no reactor in the world today uses thorium on a large scale, they...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/nuclear/qa-thorium-reacto...

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