Archive for the 'Nuclear Engineering' Category


This coming Monday, 10 May from 1-2 pm, VPR is hosting a special colloquium by Dr. Srikumar Banerjee , Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission & Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy, India in the Rotunda Dome Room.  I would appreciate your help in getting the word out to faculty, staff and students who may have interest in attending.

Dr. Banerjee will talk on the following topic:  “Accelerator Driven System (ADS) in Support of Sustainable Nuclear Power Program in India” – the abstract of his talk is posted below.

Dr. Phillip A. Parrish
Associate Vice President for Research
University of Virginia
PO Box 400301
Charlottesville, VA  22904-4301
434-243-4023 (office) / 434-825-5258 (cell)
434-924-3667 (fax)


Accelerator Driven System (ADS) in Support of Sustainable Nuclear Power Program in India

Srikumar Banerjee

Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission & Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy, India


Energy policy of populous country like India caters to sustain fast economic growth without burdening environment with deleterious effects and yet conserve resources for future generations. Nuclear energy would be essential for such goals even though other renewable energy sources could provide incremental supplements.

India is not endowed with large deposits of basic nuclear fuel uranium, but thorium as fertile fuel is abundantly available. Long-term goal of our nuclear energy policy is to harness thorium reserves which will last for a couple of centuries. This policy is manifested in the 3-stages of fuel cycle and reactor technology development program. A closed uranium fuel cycle is planned alongside heavy water reactors of first stage. The second stage would enhance fuel stockpiles with fast breeder reactors and provide seed fuel for thorium utilization in eventual third stage.

However, sustainable thorium fuel utilization with capacity growth requires use of sub-critical reactor system with external supply of non-fission neutrons to achieve high & economic fuel burn up (of thorium). Reprocessing of fuel and its recycling would be essential part of such a scheme. Recycling of uranium spent fuel would also reduce the radiotoxicity, whereas thorium utilization would not create large quantities of actinides waste. Final “ashes” of uranium fuel would be minor actinides which are transmuted safely by fission in dedicated sub-critical reactor.

An energy efficient way to supplement reactor with external non-fission neutrons is by nuclear reaction of spallation using high energy proton accelerator and its beam power intensity of several megawatts. This forms basic configuration of Accelerator Driven System (ADS). We have an integrated R&D program for ADS that is implemented with analytical and technology studies and experimental facilities in BARC and other institutes of Indian Department of Atomic Energy. Development of linear proton accelerator (linac) having low beam loss, high reliability and energy efficiency would require application of RF superconductivity and associated cryogenics. Termination scheme of intense proton beam at spallation target needs development of liquid lead and lead-bismuth technology and high temperature structural materials.

The above aspects of ADS in support of sustainable nuclear power in India are covered in the talk and status of activities initiated under R&D program on ADS is elaborated.

Nuclear Fusion Milestone

Scientists Reach Milestone In Nuclear Fusion Experiment.

According to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), AFP (1/29) reports, “US scientists have produced a laser shot with an unprecedented energy level that could be a key step towards nuclear fusion.” In a statement, the NNSA said that “researchers for the first time delivered a megajoule of energy to a target by focusing 192 laser beams at the same time at a temperature of 111 million Celsius (200 million Fahrenheit).” NNSA administrator Thomas D’Agostino said, “Breaking the megajoule barrier brings us one step closer to fusion ignition,” adding, “This milestone is an example of how our nation’s investment in nuclear security is producing benefits in other areas, from advances in energy technology to a better understanding of the universe.”

In a report that only refers to the NNSA’s funding of the project, the San Francisco Chronicle (1/29, Perlman) reports that scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s National Ignition Facility said that their work “marked the most important advance yet in more than 10 years of work at the $3.5 billion facility.” In the coming months, “the team will start a new round of experiments seeking finally to achieve what they call ‘ignition’ — a true thermonuclear reaction inside the laboratory’s tiny targets.” L. Jeffrey Atherton, one of the lead physicists on the project, said, “We’re confident of our ability to start seeking ignition this summer.” Atherton added, “And we’re optimistic that at some point soon we’ll achieve it.”

The above reposted from the January 29, 2010 issue of ASEE’s First Bell.

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