Nuclear reactors in india essay

Therefore, this is the key development challenge or the key energy challenge. It is also a security challenge because disparity is one of the core issues that leads to conflict and security issues around the world. Producing 5, kWh per capita will take time, therefore it is important to conserve equitable resources for this purpose, because we are living in a world where resource depletion is occurring. Of course there are new resources becoming available, but they are not always available in poorer countries. In this context, energy assurances are important, and this, Kakodar believes, is a prerequisite for long-term peace and security and stability.

In addition, the threat of climate change requires a reduction in fossil energy use, so this challenge cannot be met in a business-as-usual mode. When green energy scenarios are compared with other energy sources, nuclear energy will probably not play a large role. This is due in part to the fact that the world is scared of nuclear safety and security issues, which is reducing investments in nuclear power.

On the other hand, can we live with the risk of climate change? When considering the spectrum of green energy sources, inevitably there will be a minimum contribution from nuclear energy if one wants to meet energy requirements.

The Nuclear Fuel

Next, we must calculate how much uranium would be required to meet a scenario of nuclear power as part of the overall energy supply. For this particular scenario, by there would not be enough additional uranium to commit to a new nuclear power plant. Depending on the scenario, this may shift to or , within the next 20 to 25 years there will not be sufficient uranium to move away from fossil fuels to a reasonable extent, particularly when uranium is used in a once-through mode, which is most common today.

Again, this depends on the uranium supply, and, of course, just like other resources, more uranium surely would be found in the future. But if we consider the resources and numbers as of today, regardless of what category of resources one is talking about, Kakodkar stated that it is absolutely clear that uranium by itself in a once-though mode cannot supply the total energy requirements on the scale he discussed above. If one wants to address the climate change issue, then the issue of the closed nuclear fuel cycle has to be addressed.

These are the only two alternatives. Another issue to consider is spent nuclear fuel. If uranium is used in a once-through mode, the spent fuel has to be disposed of and this is an unresolved issue, and is likely to remain unresolved for a long time. This is because there are legal frameworks that require safeguards, including physical protection. Even if one were to dispose of the spent fuel in a geological repository, safeguards would still legally apply. Leaving aside the legal issues, if spent fuel is disposed of as spent fuel, it eventually leads to the creation of a plutonium mine over a period of time.

Spent fuel is difficult to handle today but it will be easier to reprocess the material in the future when a good portion of the radioactivity has decayed away.


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This may happen, but not in foreseeable generations. Humanity will be still around, Kakodkar said. So are we acting in a responsible manner in leaving such a legacy for the next generation? This is why disposal of spent fuel remains an unresolved issue and the only way to handle this issue, Kakodkar stated, is to recycle by removing the uranium and plutonium using technologies currently available. There are, of course, some residual issues in terms of byproducts actinides, long-life fission products , but there are technologies for disposal of these byproducts, not disposal repository that has to stand geological times, but as complete degradation of radioactive waste in a time span comparable with the institutional lifetime.

This technology should be available soon. This is the approach that we should address from a long-term security perspective, because it is more stable and sustainable, but today, this approach is discouraged, certainly for valid reasons. We discourage it because there is fear of diversion of weapon usable material. In other words, the question of security risk management is a question of the capability of human society to manage this situation. It is important, therefore, to consider the risks in this context. On the nuclear side, there is the risk of diversion of nuclear materials for weapons purposes, that can lead to risk anywhere depending on where the diverted material travels.

There is also a risk in terms of threat to the nuclear facility because a breach of security would cause serious public trauma, primarily in the neighborhood of that facility. The risk of diversion can be mitigated by not reprocessing the material so that the weapon-usable material is not freely available. Second, risk can be mitigated by the security architecture in place.


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On the other hand, the absence of sufficiently large deployments of nuclear energy would make dependence on fossil fuel inevitable. Third, there is the difficulty of predicting global consequences arising from climate change. But that risk could be much larger than risks posed by weapons of mass destruction. These two issues should be considered together. Development deficits and varying energy security challenges are also issues that could create security problems over time. Kakodkar stated that he believes the need to reduce the risk to humanity necessitates rapid growth of nuclear power.

Further, he believes that security measures alone are unlikely to be sufficient. The sovereignty of nations, varying degrees of security as perceived by other nations, responsible behavior or the lack of it, trust deficits, and the need to manage non-state actors are likely to remain difficult challenges. Therefore, the question is how to deal with minimizing the nuclear security risk, while recognizing that nuclear energy should create conditions for rapid growth.

This is where technology comes in.

Words Short Essay on India as a nuclear power

Kakodkar is a firm believer that minimizing security risks requires technology; not just technology in terms of physical protection or security architecture solutions, but also technology in terms of the configuration of nuclear power plants, nuclear energy itself. This is where thorium comes in, which Kakodkar believes is the answer to all of these challenges. It is a one-stop solution to safety, sustainability, and proliferation resistance.

If one is concerned about plutonium diversion, once the decision is made to reprocess spent fuel, plutonium can be burned the fastest with thorium matrix fuel, he said see Figure The fissile plutonium content in the irradiated fuel at discharge is low even for low burnup fuel. Furthermore, the plutonium that is produced has a high plutonium fraction, which makes it more proliferation resistant. Uranium-based fuels cannot achieve this reduction because absorption of neutrons in uranium generates additional plutonium.

Inert matrix fuel where plutonium is mixed into an inert material can burn and degrade plutonium, but one cannot run a reactor loaded only with inert matrix plutonium fuel because the reactor itself becomes unstable. On the other hand, with thorium, the reactor can run in a very stable manner and degrade plutonium to a very safe level in just one cycle. Uranium, which is the fissile counterpart of thorium is present along with a small amount of uranium, which is a high energy gamma emitter. While this combination is excellent for production of energy, it has tremendous resistance from diversion, simply because of the lethal dose, which it can give in a short time, depending on the burn-up.

A thorium reactor designed in India, the Advanced Heavy Water Reactors AHWR , would use 20 percent uranium enriched for 20 percent of the fuel mixed with thorium 80 percent of the fuel. This reactor is not only designed for the normal fuel cycle benefits, but also to attain safety and security advantages. This reactor promises no radiological impact on the pub-. It has a design life of years and other maintenance advantages, Kakodkar said. Kakodkar noted that everyone is concerned about the insider threat but he said that the AHWR is designed to guarantee safety against an insider threat.

For example, in a scenario where there is a complete station blackout—no power, no station diesels available, and complete failure or deliberate disablement of primary and secondary shutdown systems—the fuel cladding temperature would only rise a small amount, the core would not melt, and there would be no serious accident. That is the worst an insider could do, which provides a degree of immunity even from an insider threat.

A comparable amount of energy is gained from the uranium used in pressurized heavy water reactors and light water reactors, but there are fewer proliferation concerns with thorium reactors. With thermal reactors, nuclear energy can increase with reduced risk in a variety of new regions in the world. The challenge still remains, however, of meeting energy needs beyond what can be supported by thermal reactors. Fast reactors will still be needed, Kakodkar said, because that is the only way one can increase the energy generation capacity of nuclear power.

Fast reactors and uranium fuel enrichment and recycle technology return us to the question of plutonium diversion. Kakodkar believes that these technologies should be contained within a responsible domain. This does not mean dividing the world into responsible and irresponsible domains.

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Is nuclear energy safe?

Rather, fast breeder reactors should be implemented in responsible domains, where there are more assurances, to allow for an increase in nuclear power through the use of thorium. Kakodkar concluded by saying that this is his proposition for the deployment of nuclear energy, which would address both the energy challenge as well as the security challenge. This can be enhanced around the world with thorium in thermal reactors. In order to meet the larger energy requirements, beyond what can be supported by thermal reactors, fast breeder reactors will be needed.

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With reprocessing plants, fast-reactors and recycling, energy capacity will grow. Eventually, both roads can converge. Breeding with thorium in thermal reactors is limited, but advanced reactor systems can breed more effectively to enable growth. He hopes that the world will create an environment that facilities development of nuclear energy that meets energy requirements and security requirements worldwide. If this path is followed, some nuclear security risks will remain, but the world would become a vastly safer place. What organization, what mechanism, what structure would be involved in terms of international organization in the.

Why We Still Need Nuclear Power

Would this be using existing organizations, such as the IAEA, or something entirely separate? Kakodkar replied by stating that, for example, in Nuclear Suppliers Group-level discussions, there is already movement on how to address the enrichment and reprocessing issue. There are some seeds of that kind already there. He is not in favor of completely dismantling the existing framework. We should be able to build on what is already there, but clearly there are fault lines in the existing framework. Defining what is responsible and what is not is always going to be difficult.

Every country will argue that it is responsible. But given the direction in which the discourse is moving, one could make progress.


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Kakodkar replied that there is plenty of data available and in India, the availability of thorium is much greater than what is currently known or discussed because Indian thorium assessments are based on what has been explored primarily for ilmenite. Some of the ilmenite has been found, and along with that there is so much monazite, which means there is a lot of thorium.