| Indira Gandhi Centre
for Atomic Research, the second largest establishment of the Department
of Atomic Energy, next only to Bhaba Atomic Research Centre,
was set up at Kalpakkam, 80 kms south of Chennai, in 1971. Its
purpose - the conducting of a broad-based multidisciplinary programme
of scientific research and advanced engineering, towards the development
of sodium-cooled Fast Breeder Reactor (FBR) technology in India.
forms a part of the second stage of the Indian Atomic Programme for
the effective utilization of Uranium, leading to the exploitation
of the large energy potential in Thorium, to meet energy demands
in 21st century.
A modest beginning was made by constructing the sodium cooled Fast
Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR), with a nominal power of 40 Mwt, based
on the French Reactor, RAPSODIE. The reactor obtained its criticality
on October 18th, 1985 and has been in operation at its maximum attainable
power level of 10.5 Mwt with a small core. It is the first of its
kind, in the world, to use Plutonium Uranium mixed carbide as
a driver fuel.
With the expertise gained by the successful operation of FBTR, the
center has embarked upon the design and construction of the 500 Mwe,
Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR). A Boron Enrichment
Plant is being set up for continued supply of enriched Boron
for the fast reactor programme. A Steam Generator Test Facility
is also being set up to provide critical design data. Towards
closing the fuel cycle, a Fast Reactor Fuel Reprocessing Plant
is under construction.
the years the center has established comprehensive R&D facilities
covering the entire spectrum of Fast Breeder Reactor technology. The
areas of R&D include Sodium Technology, Reactor Engineering, Structural
Analysis, Reactor Physics, Materials Science, Materials Development,
Chemistry of Sodium, Fuels and Materials, Fuel Reprocessing, Reactor
Safety, Control and Instrumentation, Computer Applications, Non-Destructive
Testing and Evaluation.
The center has also embarked upon research activities in frontier
areas such as low temperature and high pressure Physics, thin films,
corrosion of materials, atmospheric studies, environmental research,
advanced chemical separation technology, chemical sensors, robotics,
artificial intelligence, synthesis and characterization of novel and
exotic materials. The center has contributed significantly in a number
of areas such as Quasicrystals, oxide superconductors, nanostructures
and clusters, Super conducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID),
Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC), actinide chemistry,
high temperature deformation and fracture mechanics and fluidic devices.
The center has a strong base in computer simulation and modeling of
material behavior and processes.
has a host of sophisticated design, experimental and service facilities
to cater to the R&D programmes. These include Kalpakkam Mini (KAMINI)
reactor for neutron radiography and activation analysis, Particle
Accelerators for radiation damage studies, a variety of nuclear instrumentation
and electron microscopic techniques for material characterization,
instruments for trace chemical analysis, advanced equipment for non-destructive
testing and evaluation.
The center is well equipped with excellent computational facilities
and software packages for design analysis, molecular dynamics, reactor
physics and safety analysis. The center also has a modern library
and Information Services facility, the largest of its kind in South
India. The library has a collection of 43,000 books, 25,000 back volumes,
about 600 journals and 1.88 lakh reports in all disciplines catering
to the needs of scientists and engineers.
The precision engineering needs of the center are well met by the
central workshop, equipped with the CNC machines. The various
Local Area Networks (LANs) in research facilities of the center
will soon be linked through a fibre optic backbone to meet the information
technology needs of the organization.
The center has taken a lead in establishing vital links with other
strategic national agencies related to defence, aerospace and also
industries. IGCAR has several ongoing collaborative research programmes
with premier educational institutions and R&D centers such as Indian
Institute of Science, Indian Institute of Technology and
Regional Engineering Colleges.
IGCAR has a staff strength of 2,290 including 930 engineers and scientists.
Its annual outlay - around Rs 670 million.
Indira Gandhi of Atomic Research,
Kalpakkam 603 102,