Saturday, October 20, 2012

India Plans for 300 MWe Thorium Fueled AHWRs

Over the next five years, India plans to start building a safe nuclear reactor that can be installed in the heart of Delhi or Mumbai without posing danger to people and environment.

The 300-MWe advanced heavy water reactor (AHWR), whose construction will start in the 12th plan period, would be so safe that it can be erected in the heart of any city, said S A Bhardwaj, director (technical), Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd.

The design of AHWR is such that it does not need any exclusion zone, which is currently a standard practice in nuclear power plant. NPCIL currently acquires 600 acre of land for setting up a nuclear power plant as a large tract of land is used to keep a 5-km exclusion zone around the main plant. _Deccan Herald

Thorium AHWR Physics Design PDF paper
India has the world's largest thorium deposits and with a world hungry for low-carbon energy, it has its eyes on a potentially lucrative export market for the technology.

...the new reactor's trigger will be low-enriched uranium (LEU) – which India is permitted to import under the 2008 Indo-US deal...."The AHWR will eventually have design flexibility, using as fuel either plutonium-thorium or LEU-thorium combinations," said Sinha. "The LEU-thorium version will make the AHWR very much marketable abroad, as it would generate very little plutonium ... making it suitable for countries with high proliferation resistance." _Guardian
The images below provide comparisons between fuel and waste from thorium and uranium, based upon a molten salt reactor design:

The struggle between the uranium cycle and the thorium cycle is likely to go on for several decades, as cleaner, safer, more reliable, and more affordable reactors utilising either cycle are designed and come on the market.

The next 20 years are likely to be a fertile period for nuclear reactor design and manufacture.

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Blogger Hell_Is_Like_Newark said...

Will they build a scaled down pilot plant first?

4:28 PM  
Blogger al fin said...

They are now working on proving the technology. The design is very similar to working plants that use uranium instead of thorium.

Since this is a heavy water reactor rather than a more advanced molten salt reactor, there is much less new engineering required.

9:20 AM  

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