REACTOR FACILITIES GROUP

FAST BREEDER TEST REACTOR (FBTR)

Description Components Safety Radiological Safety Construction, Commissioning & Operation Summary Reactor Vessel Internal Inspection History of FBTR

Introduction

Fast breeder reactors constitute the second stage of India?s three stage nuclear energy programme. The Fast Breeder Test Reactor built at Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam, is a fore-runner to the second stage of Indian nuclear power programme. The reactor design is based on the French reactor Rapsodie, with several modifications, which were made to suit India's requirement. Major modifications include the provision of a steam-water circuit and indigenously developed turbine-generator in place of sodium-air heat exchanger in Rapsodie. The reactor uses Pu-U mono-carbide developed indigenously as the driver fuel, and went critical on 18th October, 1985. Being a unique fuel of its kind without any irradiation data, it was decided to use the reactor itself as the test bed for this driver fuel. The fuel has performed extremely well, with the peak burn-up reaching 155 GWd/t ( about 17 atom %), without any fuel pin failure. This is a record for this type of fuel and one of the highest for any type of fast reactor driver fuels. Though FBTR has been built as a fast reactor power station and has generated more than 59 million units of electricity, the main objective of FBTR is its deployment as a test bed for fast reactor fuels and structural materials. The operating experience of FBTR has provided sufficient feed-back and confidence for India to launch upon the design and construction of a 500 MWe Prototype Fast Breeder reactor (PFBR) at Kalpakkam.