India plans new research reactors

The director of India's Bhabha Atomic Research Centre has announced that there is a proposal to construct two new reactors under the next five year economic plan. These are the High Flux Research Reactor (HFRR), which is to be a compact 30 MW thermal reactor with very high neutron flux, and a reactor named Dhruva-2 with a proposed power rating of 125 MW of thermal power. Officially, the purpose of Dhruva-2 is "bulk irradiations and isotope production", but like the currently operating Dhruva reactor, it will likely be used to produce plutonium for the nuclear weapons program.

Neither of these proposals are new. The proposal for a reactor like Dhruva date back to 1999, shortly after India's nuclear weapon tests in May 1998. Similarly, a "30 MW pool type research reactor with a maximum neutron flux of 6.5 X 10^14 n/cm^2/s" was proposed in 2006 as part of the previous economic plan, but this was evidently not constructed. Plans for these reactors may have gained greater urgency after the CIRUS reactor was shutdown in December 2010.