In addition, India is keeping its Fast Breeder reactor
program outside the IAEA safeguard for potential military use.
For the most part, the development of breeder reactors
was left largely to the federal government.
The world's only 500 MW Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor
is at an advanced stage of construction at Kalpakkam south of Chennai, a plant that will generate more fuel than it consumes.
"The spent fuel reprocessing plant is a milestone in India's three-stage nuclear programme," he said, adding that it would help in the transition from the first stage to the second (of the programme) for building fast breeder reactors
to produce sustainable and clean energy for the country.
Plagued by high costs, often multiyear downtime for repairs (including a 15-year reactor restart delay in Japan), multiple safety problems (among them often catastrophic sodium fires triggered simply by contact with oxygen), and unresolved proliferation risks, fast breeder reactors
already have been the focus of more than $50,000,000,000 in development spending, including over $10,000,000,000 each by the U.S., Japan, and Russia.
Anil Kakodkar, asserted in a speech in March 2005 that indigenous uranium resources would support 10 GWe of nuclear installed capacity but that breeder reactors
, using plutonium bred from indigenous uranium, could support 500 GWe of power generation.
The gas-cooled fast reactor uses helium coolant directly to a gas turbine generator to produce electricity and would be a breeder reactor
. The design might be used as a process heat source for the production of hydrogen.
* Wastes and the breeder reactor
. Nuclear wastes are a resource whose value can be realized through processing facilities that extract plutonium and use it as fuel in breeder reactors
Reprocessed, it can be used in certain reactors as a uranium-plutonium mixture (MOX), or in fast breeder reactors
. These installations degrade but do not destroy plutonium.
Such breeder reactors
will actually breed more fissionable fuel in the jackets than is consumed in the core, and this means that all the uranium and thorium supply of the world can serve as potential fission fuel, rather than the rare uranium-235 alone.
During the energy crisis of the 1970s, however, the nuclearpower industry advocated reprocessing spent fuel to provide plutonium for breeder reactors
as a way of stretching U.S.
The plant was originally supposed to recover plutonium from spent nuclear fuel to provide startup fuel for a new generation of plutonium breeder reactors
like Japan's Monju reactor.
Bhardwaj reported India considers the waste as a "treasure" for fast breeder reactors