The department of nuclear physics and chemistry in Andhra University is most likely to get a prototype ‘sub-critical nuclear reactor’ or ‘clean nuclear reactor’ for its researchers in the department. G Nageswara Rao, the Vice Chancellor of the university said that they are on with an American firm and the government for installing the reactor in the university.
This reactor can provide a real-time exposure to the students as well as the researchers of the nuclear physics and chemistry departments. No other facility in India poses this unique technology-contained reactors. However, sources reportedly state that the university has almost cracked the deal but was put on hold as the state government wanted the reactor to be installed at Mori smart village in the East Godavari district.
This reactor can produce 5 MW of electricity, which will be sufficient to light about 10 villages. One of the professors; while explaining the technicalities at the nuclear physics department said that a subcritical reactor is a device where the chain of the nuclear-fission is initiated and maintained by using a continuous external neutron source, wherein the conventional reactors will keep on releasing energy as long as there is a critical mass of fuel.
The professor also said that when the supply of neutrons is stopped, the sub-critical reactor is immediately shut down. The energy which is being induced by fission reactions need the neutrons. The ‘subcritical reactor’ is free from the core meltdown, which is not the case with ‘conventional reactors’. The Chancellor also said that the proposed reactor is thorium-based and India accounts for 25% of global thorium reserve.