Current Affairs - September, 2018

India’s first indigenously developed Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor to achieve criticality in 2019

India’s first indigenously developed 500-megawatt (mw) Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) at Kalpakkam in Tamil Nadu is expected to achieve criticality in 2019. It was stated by Sekhar Basu, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy at 62th General Conference of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria. The indigenously developed PFBR is now undergoing sodium commissioning.

Criticality of Nuclear Reactor

It is event of nuclear reactor reaching self-sustained chain reaction. This means that no external source of neutrons is required to sustain fission in reactor core. It is precondition of producing useful amounts of energy from the reactor.

Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR)

PFBR has been designed indigenously by Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR). It is pool-type reactor with 1,750 tonnes of sodium as coolant.  It is designed to generate 500 MWe of electrical power, with operational life of 40 years. It generates power by burning mixed uranium-plutonium MOX fuel, a mixture of PuO2 and UO2.

PFBR at Kalpakkam was earlier expected to be commissioned in 2012, but has missed several deadlines. PFBR design is build on decades of experience gained from operating lower power Fast Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR). It comes under second stage of India’s three-stage nuclear power programme. Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam (Bhavini), a public sector company under DAE, has been given the responsibility to build these reactors. India is planning to build 21 such reactors by 2030.

Month: Categories: Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2018


First General Assembly of International Solar Alliance to be held on 2 October in Delhi

The inaugural General Assembly of International Solar Alliance (ISA) will be inaugurated on 2 October 2018 in New Delhi. It will be followed by ministerial level assembly of ISA following day which will be will be held in Greater Noida.

International Solar Alliance (ISA)

ISA was jointly launched by India and France in November 2015 at Paris on side lines of COP21 UN Climate Change Conference. Its Framework Agreement came into force in December 2017. It celebrated its founding day on 11th March, 2018. Its founding conference was held on 11 March 2018 in New Delhi.

ISA is action-oriented organization that aims brings together countries with rich solar potential to aggregate global demand, thereby reducing prices through bulk purchase, facilitating deployment of existing solar technologies at scale and promoting collaborative solar R&D and capacity building. It also aims at contributing to implementation of Paris Climate Agreement 2015 through the rapid and massive deployment of solar energy.

ISA is first international intergovernmental treaty based organization to be headquartered in India. It is headquartered at campus of National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), Gurugram, Harayana. Till date, 47 countries have signed and 19 countries have ratified Framework Agreement of ISA. United Nations is Strategic Partner of ISA.

Objectives of ISA

  • Undertake joint efforts required to reduce the cost of finance and the cost of technology;
  • Mobilize around US $1000 billion of investments needed by 2030 for massive deployment of solar energy;
  • Pave way for future technologies adapted to needs of solar rich 121 countries lying fully or partially between Tropic of Cancer and Capricon.

ISA’s 4 ongoing programmes

  • Scaling Solar Mini Grids;
  • Affordable Finance at Scale.
  • Scaling Solar Applications for Agricultural Use.
  • Scaling Solar Rooftop catering to the needs of solar energy in specific areas.

Month: Categories: International Current Affairs 2018