New Delhi: Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has designed Advanced Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR) for utilization of Thorium. This reactor has several passive safety systems and runs on coolant flow by natural circulation.
It meets all the post-Fukushima requirements and can withstand severe accidents without exposing radiation to the environment. It meets all the safety features of 3rd generation reactors. AHWR design has been reviewed by Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) has accorded pre-licensing approval. The government has given ‘in principle’ approval for constructing AHWR in Tarapur, Maharashtra.
Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD), a constituent unit of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), which has a mandate to identify and evaluate mineral resources of uranium, has established 1,22,691 tonne in situ U3O8 (1,04,042 tonne U) in Andhra Pradesh (as on February, 2017) which is the highest in comparison to the other states of the country.
Uranium Corporation of India Ltd. (UCIL), a Public Sector Unit of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has already constructed an underground mine at Tummalapalle over a length of 7.6 km with potential to mine 3,000 tons of ore per day. A plant to process 3,000 tpd is also under operation by the Company. Uranium production has started from this plant since 2012.