India's prototype fast breeder reactor (PFBR) to go critical early 2013

India's 500 MWe Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) has been delayed again and is now expected to go critical in early 2013. This would be followed by an extended period of testing before the reactor is formally commissioned. The government has reportedly announced in parliament that "the PFBR is expected to begin commercial production in March 2015".

Construction of the reactor started in 2004 and the reactor was expected to be commissioned in 2010. In October 2010, Baldev Raj, Director of the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research that designed the PFBR, had announced that the reactor would be "completed by the end of 2011 or during the first quarter of 2012" (see also the IPFM story). Notwithstanding these delays, the government has already allotted 2.5 billion Rupees for pre-project activities for two more 500 MW units without waiting for the first 500 MW reactor to be completed successfully.