India’s nuclear scientists expect to complete an experimental fast breeder nuclear reactor in Kalpakkam by the end of 2017.

The Kalpakkam reactor will generate 500 megawatts of electricity by using the element thorium instead of uranium. The only other commercial fast breeder nuclear reactor in history is located in Russia, but this uses uranium instead of thorium. Fast breeder reactors would revolutionize nuclear power because they’re capable of generating more nuclear fuel then they consume while generating less nuclear waste.

“[F]ast reactors can help extract up to 70 percent more energy than traditional reactors and are safer than traditional reactors while reducing long lived radioactive waste by several fold,” Yukiya Amano, Director General of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told the Times of India.

China is pursuing a similar program, but experts suspect that its technology is more than a decade behind India’s. Japan and France also attempted to build their own fast breeder reactors, but failed due to unexpected technical issues.

India has a rapidly growing nuclear power program and the country plans to get 25 percent of its electricity from nuclear reactors by 2050.

America currently gets 20 percent of its power from nuclear energy, but this could fall to less than 10 percent of its electricity from by 2050 due to exceptionally slow construction rates, according to the IAEA.

Also read: US Intelligence Spying On The Indian Bomb

In America getting regulatory approval from the federal U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to build a conventional reactor can take up to 25 years, while building a new plant by itself only takes about 10 of those years.

The NRC requires so much paperwork from the nuclear power providers that the average plant requires 86 full-time employees just to go through it all.

NuScale Power spent $500 million and 2 million labor hours over eight years to ask the federal government for permission to build an advanced nuclear reactor. The energy company had to file a 12,000-page application to build an advanced nuclear reactor.

NuScale had to pay NRC officials $258 per hour to review the lengthy application.

GGI News Staff
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    • Yes, but what will you do with the long-lived nuclear waste that is generated? The U.S. and others could use that technology when India discovers it. No country needs nuclear power but many need to find a safer way to “dispose” of the waste.

      • We do need nuclear . Only nuclear can provide low cost , low carbon baseload that can replace fossil fuels . Unreliable renewables need backup .Energiewende is a failure . Germany’s emissions went up in 2015 and 2016 . You talk about waste . Every power source has waste . Solar produces 300 times the waste of nuclear per KwH for example . Nuclear is the only energy industry that factors in the price of dealing with it’s waste and there are very small quantities of it . If you understood how a fast reactor works you would realize that this enables the use of the safe stock piles of “nuclear waste” or partially used fuel that is available .

  1. 1. On the contrary, India’s nuclear program can use up the spent nuclear fuel of other countries because it is needed to convert Thorium to U-233. Thorium reactors produce far less waste than present-day reactors.
    2. They have the ability to burn up most of the highly radioactive and long-lasting minor actinides that makes nuclear waste from Light Water Reactors a nuisance to deal with.
    3. The minuscule waste that is generated is toxic for only three or four hundred years rather than thousands of years
    4. They are cheaper because they have higher burn up.
    5. They are significantly more proliferation-resistant than present reactors. This is because the U-233 produced by transmuting thorium also contains U-232, a strong source of gamma radiation that makes it difficult to work with. Its daughter product, thallium-208, is equally difficult to handle and easy to detect.
    6. India publicly published reserves: U-238 @ 270,000 tonnes. This is enough to run the existing 21 reactors through their lifetime. On July 19, a fresh find of 150,000 tonnes of U-238 was reported. Over the last 20 years, the U reserves have risen from 16k to 420k tonnes.
    7. Thorium reserves @1.2 M tonnes & rising

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