How Advances in Plutonium Fission Impact India

India’s nuclear power program has advanced with the core-loading of the Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) at the Madras Atomic Power Station in Kalpakkam. This marks a significant step in the second stage of India’s nuclear initiative, focusing on plutonium fission. Initially, uranium isotopes in heavy-water reactors produced plutonium-239 (Pu-239) and electricity. Pu-239 can absorb neutrons to form Pu-240 or Pu-241, crucial for energy production and safety. Pu-240’s spontaneous fission and alpha radiation complicate nuclear technology. Recent studies on Pu-240’s prompt fission neutron spectrum (PFNS) have improved nuclear models and data libraries, aiding reactor design and safety.

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