Development of Technologies and Safety Systems for Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) in India

[+] Author and Article Information
S. Banerjee

Bhabha Atomic Research Center Mumbai-400085, India

H. P. Gupta

Bhabha Atomic Research Center Mumbai-400085, India

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4035435 History: Received July 18, 2016; Revised December 07, 2016


ABSTRACT The technology of PHWRs which was developed with prime objectives of using natural uranium fuel, implementing on power fuelling, utilizing mined uranium most effectively and achieving excellent neutron economy has demonstrated impressive performance in terms of high capacity factors and an impeccable safety record. The safety features and several technology advancements evolved over the years in which Indian contributions are considerable are briefly discussed in the first part of the paper. Unique features of PHWR such as flexibility of fuel management, distribution of pressure boundary in multiple pressure tubes and large inventory of coolant-moderator heat sink in close proximity of the core are very attractive in the design of new generation reactors with features such as enhanced safety including passive safety, and thorium utilisation. PHWRs, in India have demonstrated to have the advantage of lower capital cost per megawatt even in small size reactors. Some of the earlier concerns such as low burn up associated with natural uranium, higher level of tritium in the heavy water coolant and a slightly positive coolant void coefficient have all been addressed in the design of advanced heavy water reactor. The merit of adopting closed fuel cycle with partitioning of minor actinides in reducing the burden of radio-toxicity of nuclear waste and of deploying light water reactors in tandem with PHWRs in the evolving nuclear fuel cycle in India are also discussed.

Copyright (c) 2016 by ASME
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