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Home > City Resources > Electricals > IGCAR

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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.

Overall view of IGCARThis 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.

View of Hot cell facilityOver 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.

Control RoomIGCAR 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,
Kancheepuram District
Phone: 4114-40240/67.

Text : S Natarajan
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