India’s 3 stage Nuclear Power Program was conceived soon after Independence to meet the security and energy demands of Independent India. India’s Uranium reserves constituted a very small amount, but India has a very huge amount of thorium reserves. Hence to attain independence in the energy domain it was conceived to develop a 3 stage nuclear power program utilising the abundant thorium reserves.
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When was India’s Three-stage Nuclear Power Program devised?
India’s 3 stage Nuclear Power Program was devised in 1954.
Who devised India’s Three Stage Nuclear Power Program?
Homi J Bhabha, the father of India’s Nuclear program, devised India’s Three Stage Nuclear Power Program.
What was the objective behind formulating the Three Stages Nuclear Power Program?
- India has only 2% of World’s Uranium reserves, on the other hand, India has 25% of the World’s Thorium reserves.
- Since India was not part of some of the International Nuclear treaties, India was prevented from taking part in international trade in the Nuclear field.
- India has a huge population and growing economy, to meet the energy demands India had to rely heavily on imports of coal, and crude oil.
- Hence India had to devise methodologies to be self-sufficient in meeting energy demands arising due to a burgeoning population and economy; the 3 stage Nuclear Power Program was one of the answers to it.
How is energy produced using Three Stages of the Nuclear Power Program?
India has approximately 400 thousand tonnes of thorium reserves, close to 25% of Global Thorium reserves. Thorium is not a fissile material, but it can be converted into Uranium – 233, which can then undergo fission to produce energy.
What are the three different stages in the Nuclear Power Program?
The nuclear reactors used in different stages are different and the byproducts of one stage will be used in succeeding stages.
Below table gives details on different stages and the process involved in those stages
Three Stages of the Nuclear Power Program – Challenges
- Technical challenges involved in building Fast Breeder Reactors.
- Technical challenges involved in building Thorium based Reactors.
Location of Nuclear Reactors in India
The below table gives a list of the locations of nuclear reactors in India
Is it safe to build Nuclear Power Plants in India?
It is absolutely safe to build the Nuclear Power plants, as they have a very high safety record. Barring three accidents, Three Mile Island (TMI) in the USA, Chernobyl in Russia, and Fukushima in Japan, there have been no accidents.
- All the safety features worked in the TMI case and there was no leakage of radiation.
- In Russia, the accident was due to human error and for not following safety protocols.
- Moreover, Graphite was used as a moderator in the Chernobyl reactor. Graphite is a form of carbon and its combustible property led to an explosion in the reactor core. Such a scenario is ruled out in Indian reactors as the core is cooled and moderated by heavy water reactors.
- Fukushima, Japan kind of scenario is ruled out as Indian reactors are not in a Geologically high seismic zone, they are built at a height which cannot be affected by any Tsunami waves.
Suggestions for Nuclear Power Plants in India
To ensure the safety and security of using nuclear power there is a need to:
- Maintain continued effective safety regulation
- Ensure the maintenance of the skills base
- Maintain and reinforce international non-proliferation arrangements.
- Foster progress on facilities for waste disposal and management must be given serious consideration.
Also, go through the list of Nuclear Power Plants in India on the linked page.
India’s Three Stage Nuclear Power Program – UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here
Frequently Asked Questions about India’s three-stage nuclear power program
Who formulated India’s three-stage nuclear program?
What was the focus of the program?
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