Nuclear Energy Current Affairs
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.
India and France singed 14 key agreements in strategic areas of security, nuclear energy, protection of classified information and also in field of education, environment, urban development and railways.
These agreements were signed after extensive bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron in New Delhi. French President Macron was in India on four-day official state visit. His visit was aimed at strengthening bilateral economic, political and strategic dimension of engagement between India and France.
Signed Agreement are
- MoU on cooperation in the field of Environment.
- MoU on technical cooperation in the field of Railways.
- India-France Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement.
- Agreement to facilitate Mutual Recognition of Academic Qualifications.
- Letter of Intent for creation of permanent Indo-French Railways Forum.
- Agreement on cooperation in the field of Sustainable Urban Development.
- MoU for co-operation in projects in ISA member countries in areas of solar energy
- Implementing Arrangement for pre-formulation studies of a Maritime Awareness Mission.
- Agreement regarding provision of reciprocal logistics support between their Armed Forces.
- Bilateral Arrangement on cooperation in matter of Hydrography and Maritime Cartography.
- Agreement regarding exchange and reciprocal protection of classified or protected information
- Credit Facility Agreement of Euros 100 million for funding of Smart City Projects through a Challenge Process
- Industrial Way Forward Agreement between NPCL and EDF, France for construction of six nuclear reactors at Jaitapur, Maharashtra.
- Agreement on Prevention of Illicit Consumption and Reduction of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Chemical Precursors and Related Offences.
India and France share close and friendly relation. The relationship is based on shared values and real convergence on a whole range of regional and global issues. Both countries had announced a Strategic Partnership’ in 1998 and since then, relationship has been further strengthened.
Both countries have enhanced and ongoing cooperation in defence, maritime, space, security, and energy-related sectors. They are also increasingly working together on all issues of concern including terrorism, climate change, sustainable growth and development, infrastructure, smart urbanization, S&T cooperation, and youth exchanges.
France is a major supplier of military equipment to India. It was one of few nations that did not condemn India’s nuclear tests in 1998. It was first country with which India entered into agreement on Civil Nuclear Cooperation in 2008. France is one of largest suppliers of nuclear fuel to India. It also supports India’s bid to become permanent member of UN Security Council (UNSC) as well as G-8.
The bilateral trade between India and France for period April 2016 to March 2017 had reached US$ 10.95 billion. France is 9th largest foreign investor in India with cumulative investment of US $6.09 billion from 2000 to 2017. Close to 1,000 French companies are present in India. About 120 Indian companies have invested in France and employ close to 7,000 people.