India to set up its own mini N-fusion reactor

Times of India Prashant Rupera,TNN | Apr 1, 2015

VADODARA: Nuclear energy production in India is set to get a major boost with the department of atomic energy (DAE) giving nod to set up the country’s own thermo-nuclear fusion reactor.

India is presently one of the seven partner countries in world’s biggest energy research project – the ITER – that is coming up in Cadarche, France.

“Presently, our contribution as one of the seven partners in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project in France is 10%. The knowledge that we gain will be used to set up our own demonstrator reactors at home. We will begin by setting up an experimental version of the Cadarche ITER reactor in France here,” ITER-India’s project director Shishir Deshpande said here on Monday night.

Deshpande along with ITER’s top brass – Dr Sergio Orlandi (director – central engineering and plant) and deputy director general Dr Remmelt Haange — is touring India to review progress made by Indian companies involved in the fusion reactor project.

Sources said that the central government has sanctioned Rs 2,500 crore to seed research in nuclear fusion.

All nuclear plants in India at present are fission-based. Generating electricity through fusion is comparatively economical and safer. ITER-India, a division of the Gandhinagar-based Institute of Plasma Research, is the nodal agency under DAE, responsible for delivery of ITER contributions from India.

To be executed over 10 years, European Union, China, Japan, Korea, Russia and the US apart from India are the seven nation partners in France project which is expected to be commissioned by 2024.

Four Indian companies including two based in Gujarat have been awarded contracts to prepare large components which will be fabricated and sourced from India for ITER.

Hazira-based L&T Heavy Engineering is manufacturing the cryostat (a 30 metre height x 30 metre diameter large vacuum vessel made of stainless steel) which will house the entire ITER reactor in France. “Manufacturing of the cryostat is progressing well and the first consignment is getting ready for shipment later this year,” said Orlandi.

INOXCVA, a subsidiary of Vadodara-based Inox India Limited, has already set up a manufacturing facility at Halol to manufacture cryolines which will carry cryogens (liquid helium and nitrogen) from cryoplant to the ITER magnets and other components for the fusion project.