India gets its own research reactor after 9 years

India has operationalized an indigenous swimming pool type research reactor Apsara on Sep 10. The reactor, an upgraded version of the earlier research reactor was born at Trombay, Maharashtra.

“Nearly sixty-two years after Apsara came into existence, a swimming pool type research reactor ‘Apsara-upgraded’, of higher capacity was born at Trombay on September 10,” Department of Atomic Energy said in a press release.

The reactor is made indigenously using plate type dispersion fuel elements made of Low Enriched Uranium (LEU). By virtue of higher neutron flux, this reactor will increase indigenous production or radio-isotopes for medical application by about 50 per cent, the release added. The reactor would be used for research in nuclear physics, material science and radiation shielding.

“This development has re-emphasised the capability of Indian scientists and Engineers to build, complex facilities for health care, science education and research,” the release added.

Dr. Homi J Bhabha, the father of Indian Nuclear programme, has said in 1950s – “Research reactors are the back bone of Nuclear Programme.” Subsequently “Apsara”, the first research reactor in Asia had become operational in Trombay campus of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in August 1956. After providing more than five decades of dedicated service to the researchers, the reactor was shut down in 2009.