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Shifting over to use of thorium as nuclear fuel will not end dependence on imports, says Govt

Natural uranium, which is imported, contains fissile isotopes (U-235) that undergoes nuclear fission in a reactor to produce energy.


PTI Last Updated at 01 Aug 2018, 21:08 IST India

Shifting over to the use of thorium as a nuclear fuel will not end the dependence on imports of nuclear fuel, the Union government told the Lok Sabha today.

Natural uranium, which is imported, contains fissile isotopes (U-235) that undergoes nuclear fission in a reactor to produce energy. It is not possible to build a nuclear reactor using thorium (Th-232) alone, since it has to be converted to U-233 in a reactor before it can be used as fuel, Jitendra Singh, the minister of state in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), said while replying to a question in the Lower House.

"Shifting over to the use of thorium as a nuclear fuel would not end the dependence on imports of nuclear fuel," Singh said.

India has vast quantities of thorium, a weakly-radioactive metallic chemical element. Due to this, Dr. Homi Bhabha, the father of the Indian nuclear programme, envisaged a three-stage nuclear programme.

The Indian nuclear programme is at the first stage. It is expected to move on to the second stage soon by introducing fast-breeder reactors. Use of thorium has been envisaged under the third stage.

The country currently imports uranium from Kazakhstan, Russia, and Canada for its pressurized heavy-water reactors (PHWR) and two boiling-water reactors.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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