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India developing reactor for making hydrogen as tech demonstrator

India has joined the league of countries like South Africa, China, US and Germany which are trying to develop a high temperature

reactor for generating hydrogen on a large scale. Hydrogen can be used as fuel for vehicles, besides other scientific applications in the future.
The technology demonstrator reactor would be ready by 2015 and work is currently in progress on the project, Anil Kakodkar, Atomic Energy Commission chairman told reporters here on Sunday.
Srikumar Banerjee, director, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), said the reactor would generate hydrogen by splitting water. The reactor's operational efficiency would be very much enhanced. Already efforts are on in countries to develop such a reactor, he said.
"The programme is on course. Technology development is on, we are developing the reactor design, materials, material processing capabilities. The actual construction of the reactor will take some time," he said.
Kakodkar said India would have sufficient uranium to meet the requirements of the already existing reactors and those in the process of being commissioned.
"By 2012-13, we would overcome the problems for all the reactors currently operating and those that will come on stream. We are looking at launching four 700 Mw units, for which in-principle approval has been granted. We want to get the approvals at the earliest and start construction soon. That is where the new mines will come in handy. We also want to construct another four 700Mwe units," he said.
Uranium production in India was going up, he added. "We earlier had one mill in Jadaguda in Jharkhand. Now we have augmented the capacity there. Simultaneously expansion of mines in Mohudih in Jharkhand and a mill in Tummalapalli in Andhra Pradesh is going on, Kakodkar said, adding that Gogi in Karnataka would be explored for uranium presence.
Also, in a couple of years all the reactors (both operational and the ones that are being commissioned) would reach a plant load factor of 90%. "We are adding capacity for our reactors. Rajasthan V and VI and Kaiga IV will come online in a phased manned this year and next year," the AEC chairman said.
"In terms of production of enriched uranium fuel, we would be able to meet the national requirments," he added.
For electricity production, trhe immediate plan would be to acquire this technology from outside. "While we are building the PHWRs and FBRs and later on the thorium reactors, we would, in parallel, develop the PWRs on the basis of our own strengths." Kakodkar said.

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