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CIRUS a totally refurbished reactor

The research reactor at BARC was reportedly discussed during the recent Indo-US nuclear deal.

india Updated: Mar 05, 2006 19:53 IST

The CIRUS research reactor at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, which was reportedly discussed during the recent Indo-US nuclear deal, is a completely refurbished reactor.

The reactor has indigenous knowledge and fuel and moderator, and is utilised for production of isotopes for medical and food processing purposes, BARC Director S Banerjee said.

The reactor which was originally commissioned in 1961 was completely refurbished three years back with purely indigenous knowledge.

The reactor operates at 80 degree Celsius and not at high pressure, uses indigenous natural uranium as fuel and heavy water as moderator, he said on Sunday.

It has attained its full power of 40 MW (research not electricity production) last year and would continue the production of isotopes for hospitals and the radiation food and medical product processing, he said.

The BARC Safety Council (equivalent to Atomic Energy Regulatory Board) has given fresh clearance three years back to operate the reactor and last year to take it to maximum power, Banerjee said.

CIRUS is also used for research purpose as it is a source of neutrons, he added.

Some of the pioneer nuclear scientists who were working at BARC even before CIRUS was commissioned said that CIRUS was never under safeguards as even the International Atomic Energy Agency began its initial work on the concept of safeguards only in late sixties.

Even after that, the reactor never went under safeguards with strong recommendations of several Indian nuclear experts of those days to late Dr Homi Bhabha, they added.

First Published: Mar 05, 2006 19:53 IST