Last update:
2016-01-18

Kalpakkam's fast breeder reactor, India

This Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor of 500MW is still not ready by 2016. Such reactors have been discontinued in other countries but they receive government investments in India. Local and national protests are muted so far.


Description:

Back in 2006 India wanted to expand its nuclear power by 15 times (from 4,120 MW to 63,000 MW) by 2032, according to the Planning Commission's 2006 integrated energy policy report. In percentage of the total energy mix, the nuclear share would double from 3 per cent to 6 per cent. "We hope to touch 7,000 MW by next year," said then S K Jain, chairman and managing director of India's public sector nuclear utility Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited. There was however a problem with uranium supplies.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Kalpakkam's fast breeder reactor, India
Country:India
State or province:Tamil Nadu
Location of conflict:Kalpakkam
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Nuclear
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Nuclear power plants
Nuclear waste storage
Specific commodities:Electricity
Project Details and Actors
Project details

India’s first 500-MWe Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) at Kalpakkam, around 70 km to the South of Chennai, is expected to become critical in March or April 2016. The reactor is cooled by sodium.

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Project area:2500
Level of Investment:900,000,000
Type of populationSemi-urban
Company names or state enterprises:BHAVINI (BHAVINI) from India
Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd (BHAVINI) from India
Relevant government actors:Government of India
Department of Atomic Energy (DAE)
Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace, a national network of over 200 organizations
Dianuke, DIALOGUES and RESOURCES on Nuclear, Nature and Society. A resource page on nuclear issues, with special focus on India's nuclear expansion, http://www.dianuke.org/
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Media based activism/alternative media
Street protest/marches
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Other Environmental impacts
Potential: Air pollution, Fires, Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Other Environmental impactsRisk of nuclear accident
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Potential: Occupational disease and accidents, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Violations of human rights
Outcome
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Muted response so far (2016)
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The anti-nuclear movement in Tamil Nadu does not appear to be strong (with the exception of agitation at Kudankulam after Fukushima in 2011). Some peaceful protests have been recorded at the Kalpakkam nuclear complex.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Savvy Soumya Misra, Radioactive Mirage, Down to Earth, 15 October 2009
[click to view]

Positive view in 2000 on the Fast Breeder Reactor, in the magazine Frontline
[click to view]

One of many reports over the years on delays in the PFBR at Kalpakkam
[click to view]

Weapon-Grade Plutonium Production Potential in the Indian Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor, by Alexander Glaser and M. V. Ramana, Science and Global Security, 15:85–105, 2007
[click to view]

The optimistic view from industry in 2015, towards six Fast Breeder Reactors in India
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Description of the nuclear complex at Kalpakkam
[click to view]

Fast breeder reactors are the least safe, by Swaminathan
[click to view]

129 People Jailed for Protesting Against Kalpakkam Reactor. March 29, 2013. Nityanand Jayaraman reporting. In a bid to intimidate fenceline communities living around the Kalpakkam nuclear reactors, the Tamil Nadu Police has jailed 129 people of the 650 that were detained in wedding halls yesterday. Those detained were protesting to highlight that the nuclear complex in Kalpakkam was all threat and risk to the local community with no benefits either in the form of jobs or electricity...



Previous report: Kalpakkam: Peaceful Anti-nuke Protest Turned Nasty by TN Cops



In a bid to intimidate fenceline communities living around the Kalpakkam nuclear reactors, the Tamil Nadu Police has jailed 129 people of the 650 that were detained in wedding halls yesterday. Those detained were protesting to highlight that the nuclear complex in Kalpakkam was all threat and risk to the local community with no benefits either in the form of jobs or electricity.
[click to view]

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Contributor:Joan Martinez Alier
Last update18/08/2019
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