Chennai: Construction work on the 500 MW prototype fast breeder reactor (PFBR) is at full swing at Kalpakkam, near Chennai. (See )
''The project will be ready in less than seven years time at a lower capex than planned,'' assures Dr. Baldev Raj, the new director, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR). A recipient of the distinguished scientist award Dr. Raj was earlier director, Materials, Chemical and Reprocessing Groups.
A separate company Bharthiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited is handling the PFBR project. As per estimates, the project is expected to cost around Rs. 2,800 crore and after escalations Rs.3,492 crore.
Dr. Raj assumes the IGCAR's at a time when the country is venturing into the energy security net via fast breeder reactors.
A graduate of Ravishankar University, Dr. Raj did his doctorate in interdisciplinary area of materials science and aerospace engineering from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. He is well known for his contributions to non-destructive evaluation, materials, development and performance, reactor technology and associated fuel cycle technologies.
A prolific writer, he has written 9 books and edited 17 books and has published 550 research papers- Dr Raj joined the DAE in 1969 in the Training School of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and later moved down to Kalpakkam in 1974 to join IGCAR, then known as the Reactor Research Centre. Dr. Raj also owns 15 patents.
He has been honoured with many awards including Non Destructive Testing (NDT) Man of the Year, National Metallurgist, G.D. Birla Gold Medal and VASVIK award. He has been the past-president of International Committee on NDT, the prestigeous world body that steers the programmes of professional NDT societies of various countries.
According to him PFBR tenders for critical components valued around Rs.800 crore have been completed.