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[en] There is interest in nuclear power among Emerging Nuclear Energy Countries but concerns are holding them back: • Post Fukushima, about 50 new nuclear power reactors are under construction in fifteen countries. Only three countries (Bangladesh, Belarus and UAE) among them are a new entrant to the use of nuclear power. • According to World Nuclear Association report on “Emerging Nuclear Energy Countries” (updated January 2019), about 30 countries are considering, planning or starting nuclear power programmes. • While there are a large number of emerging economy countries with growing energy needs, their adopting nuclear power option to combat climate change risks would depend on their concerns related to nuclear power being addressed adequately.
[en] Allow me to compliment the IAEA and the Government of People's Republic of China and OECD/NEA for setting up this important Conference which allows us to look ahead and attempt to shape the future of nuclear energy to meet increasing developmental aspirations of the world at large without adding to the burden of carbon dioxide emissions. Growth in energy demand as a result of rapid economic progress in large emerging countries like India, China and others, and the climate change concerns have created conditions favourable for nuclear renaissance. Concerns relating to availability of fossil energy have led to a rethink on use of nuclear power in some countries. In this context we need to be aware of the factors that have led to barriers to growth of nuclear power in a large number of countries thus far. It is also clear that these factors vary from country to country. Appropriate nuclear power technologies to address such issues are the need of the hour. For a smaller country, perhaps, one needs a relatively small nuclear power unit that needs minimum refuelling with an assurance on reliable fuel supply. On the other hand, for a large country, which may necessarily have to be heavily dependent on nuclear power, ability to manage the nuclear fuel cycle, on its own, would be a crucial factor. Further, if the growth in nuclear power takes place along the expected lines, nuclear fuel recycle in a breeding mode would be necessary. For nuclear power to grow worldwide we, thus, need a basket of appropriate technologies that cater to diverse needs. Concerns relating to safety, security and proliferation have led to a significant barrier to expanding the global reach and volume of deployment of nuclear power. In the context of technology transfer and international cooperation these issues have become a major constraining factor. Several institutional and management frameworks at national and international level have been considered. Even today these occupy a large share of our efforts and resources. In this context, let me point out that at present only a small fraction of the current fleet of power reactors is subject to a rigorous administration of IAEA safeguards. While this is undoubtedly important, such an approach alone is unlikely to be sustainable in producing the desired results particularly in the context of the expected large scale growth in nuclear power deployment. It is thus necessary to find technology-based solutions that provide an integrated answer to the issues of safety, security and proliferation while producing large scale nuclear power in a sustainable and eco-friendly manner. In India, we are, indeed, working on an approach that would enable us to maximise the role nuclear power can play in meeting our energy needs, consistent with the energy resource profile at our command. At the same time, we are also pursuing development of technologies that would address the concerns in the background of large scale deployment of nuclear power. In my presentation later in this Conference, I would cover this aspect in some detail. Several dimensions of our current nuclear power programme are highlighted in the exhibition organised by Nuclear Corporation of India during this Conference. While we are pursuing our indigenous development of nuclear technologies to meet our national requirements, we are indeed encouraged in speeding up realisation of our energy security with minimum carbon dioxide emissions through additionalities that are now possible as a result of opening up of international civil nuclear co- operation. Concurrently, we also stand ready to share our experience with friendly countries. This experience is likely to be more relevant and beneficial to them as compared to other available options. Mr. Chairman, the world needs more focussed work on developing relevant technologies and equipment. India's 220 MWe Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors with advanced safety features and high level of reliability could be of considerable interest especially in the developing world. Similarly our 300 MWe Advanced Heavy Water Reactor offers technology-based solutions that we seek globally for the next generation reactor systems. While giant reactor systems are on offer by the major manufacturers, the simple truth may be that small and medium reactors may be suited to meeting the requirements of more countries and we are willing to do our bit here. And in the final analysis, the world needs human resources that can man and drive these systems. In India, there has been a sustained effort to develop the right kind of manpower in sufficient numbers for our requirements. Again, we are willing to make a modest contribution to helping countries that seek such assistance. But we would also like to underline that more is expected of the international community in such areas. If there is to be a realistic chance of meeting the expectations generated by the nuclear renaissance, there has to be prioritisation of attention and resources on the part of the IAEA and its member states. As the IAEA looks to supplement its budgetary resources by almost 100% in the coming years from the current levels, there is a need to ensure that member states derive real benefits from the increased budgetary allocation. This would be only possible with greater stress on technical cooperation, nuclear power, fuel cycle and nuclear science. As things stand today, over 55 per cent of the Agency resources are expended on nuclear verification and administration while technical cooperation, nuclear power, fuel cycle and nuclear science receive less than ten per cent each. Surely, this is unacceptable. India has attached the highest importance to INPRO from the commencement of this programme and undoubtedly this has a great potential towards making nuclear energy accessible in a safe and sustainable manner particularly to the latest nations turning in this direction.
[en] Indigenously developed Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) that form the backbone of current stage of nuclear power development in India have seen continuous evolution of their containment systems. This evolution that has taken place over implementation of 18 PHWRs (200/220/540 MWe) has encompassed all aspects of containment design, viz. the structural system, energy management system, radio-activity management and hydrogen management system. As a part of ongoing efforts toward strengthening of safety performance, India is also ready with the design of Advance Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR), which represents a technology demonstrator for advanced reactor systems and for thorium utilization. This reactor has a number of improved passive safety features and it is capable of meeting the demanding safety challenges that future reactor system would be expected to meet as a result of emerging expectations in the background of accidents over the past three decades viz. those at Three Mile Island (1979), Chernobyl (1986) and most recently at Fukushima (2011). In this lecture I shall focus on the evolution of nuclear reactor containments in India and highlight the design, associated structural and thermal hydraulics safety assessment made over the years for the improvement of containment performance
[en] Dr Anil Kakodkar in his speech at the Indian Atomic Industrial Forum on 14th Aug 2008 spoke about preparing ourselves for the next era in the development of Atomic Energy in India. Opening of civil nuclear cooperation is not just about ability to get things from outside but it is also about ability to export. The industry and DAE will have to work together with a degree of maturity and responsibility and a collective action can do things in a manner where at least it could be one area where the world recognizes that India is a major player
[en] Energy is the engine for the growth. It multiplies human labour and increases productivity in agriculture, industry as well as services. Easy access to modern energy services holds the key to development. An integrated view of India's energy resources is to be taken along with a road map for development of India's energy vision
[en] From the highlights of the various technological development activities already in hand and those which are yet to be pursued in nuclear fuel cycle, it goes without saying that Indian programme on nuclear science and technology not only provides the widest and toughest technological challenges to the chemical engineering community but the very success of the programme also depends on their success in finding out cost effective solutions to these challenges
[en] Fuel cycle forms an integral component of nuclear energy technologies. It is intimately linked to the choice of reactor systems and national policies on nuclear energy. Choice of closed or open fuel cycle, while it is governed by the national policy; has a strong bearing on sustainability, waste management and associated long-term environmental issues. It is increasingly becoming clear that sustainability and issues concerning environmental impact favour a closed fuel cycle which permits recycle to the maximum possible extent. The key issues identified by INPRO methodology regarding nuclear reactor systems (including fuel cycle) are economy, safety, waste management, sustainability and proliferation resistance. High burn up, coprocessing of fissile and fertile material, remote refabrication and recycle of fuel including minor actinides, recovery of fission products of commercial value particularly high heat generating Cs-137, Sr-90 and noble metals, partitioning and transmutation of actinides and long lived fission products and matrix for immobilization of waste are the key targets for R and D to achieve technical solutions to these challenges. There is considerable experience in large-scale deployment of Uranium-Plutonium fuel in water reactors and in fast reactors. One could build on this experience for efficient and secure utilization of Pu stockpile in water reactors. This demands R and D for critical evaluation of novel fabrication routes, more amenable to remote fabrication and reduction of waste generation. Despite the large experience available in aqueous reprocessing, there is considerable scope for R and D to enhance plant life, minimise actinides and long-lived fission products in waste streams. R and D areas encompass development of simplified flow sheets with less number of cycles, schemes for minor actinide partitioning, corrosion resistant materials, salt free electrochemical and photochemical steps, on-line monitoring of process streams and in-service inspection of equipment and process vessels. Use of sol-gel based techniques for fabricating the fuel can integrate reprocessing and fuel fabrication facilities resulting in compact plants, lesser waste generation and proliferation resistant fuel cycles. Similarly, application of novel technologies such as membrane separations, supercritical fluid extraction and ultrafiltration can minimise generation of secondary waste streams and contribute towards making the nuclear fuel cycle environmentally benign. These directions would contribute to significant improvements in thermal as well as fast reactor fuel cycles. Thorium is an excellent fertile host that can make fuel cycle more sustainable and proliferation resistant. Use of thorium also enables a much deeper plutonium burning with manageable reactor characteristics even when the entire core is loaded with plutonium bearing fuel assemblies. There are of course additional R and D challenges with thorium fuel cycle such as removal of U-232 from U-233 and three component (U, Pu, Th) separations. Fast reactors are emerging as important candidates for next generation reactors. Development of better materials for clad and structural components is important for increasing the burn-up to a value of 200,000 MWd/t and above resulting in improved economics. Metallic fuel cycle, with pyrochemical reprocessing, offers inherent safety and potential for breeding with proliferation resistance. The commercial scale development of the related technologies for deployment of metallic fuels requires R and D in a number of areas like materials development, physicochemical studies, remote refabrication, waste management, on-line measurement of fissile nuclides, etc. The paper discusses challenges in the above indicated areas and possible directions for research and development which would make nuclear energy competitive, proliferation resistant, safe and environmentally benign. (author)
[en] As the developing world tries to meet the energy needs of its growing population and support its development aspirations, the global energy consumption would double over the next three decades and will rise further subsequently. Only power of the atom can, in principle, realize this. Without a central role for nuclear power this could lead to a sustainability of energy resources with enhanced level of conflicts to grab the residual resources and, even more importantly, in terms of global climate
[en] Nuclear reactors today account for 17% of global electricity production. In view of India'a moderate uranium resources, the first stage of India's nuclear power programme is based on PHWR type reactor system. In the second stage emphasis will be on plutonium recycle and development of fast breeder reactors. In the third stage thorium will be utilised. In view of large population and need to enhance the per capita energy consumption, India's requirements for electricity production are very large. India will have to take up the challenge of independently developing fast breeders and thorium utilisation without any dependence on developments in other countries. (M.G.B.)
[en] The viability of nuclear power and its importance in the world energy scene today have been clearly established. The services require R and D based technological solutions, need for management of ageing, and upgradation of current generation nuclear plants, along with utilization of thorium based fuel for the next generation Indian nuclear plants. Points like increase in bulk and range of nuclear energy related services, factors affecting future growth of nuclear power, advanced nuclear power plants, safety and economic aspects, thermal reactor programme, advanced heavy water reactor, fuel cycle related technologies, non-grid based electricity applications, accelerator based technologies and energy conversion processes are also discussed in the Indian context