Boron Enrichment Plant (BEP)

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Last Updated: September 1, 2003
Other Name: N/A
Location: Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu, India
Subordinate To: Department of Atomic Energy (DAE)
Size: Unknown
Facility Status: Operational

The Boron Enrichment Plant (BEP) is part of the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (INCAR) in Kalpakkam. It was officially commissioned in April 2001 when its boric acid charging pump went operational. The facility's main purpose is to produce 90 percent enriched Boron-10, which is necessary for the development of fast breeder reactor (FBR) control rods. (The mineral's high neutron absorption and stability under extreme temperatures make it ideally suited.) Despite the 90 percent enrichment goal, BEP had achieved only a 42 percent Boron-10 enrichment capacity by 2001-2002. During this period, experiments were carried out at the facility to study band velocity and particle size effects on boron enrichment. The studies found that the cost for enriching boron could be decreased by utilizing lower band velocities. The results of these studies will reportedly be incorporated into BEP after further tests are conducted.

In addition to BEP, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) also maintains a facility that is capable of producing enriched Boron-10. As of the late 1990s, this plant was operating successfully.

Sources:
[1] "Chairman, AEC Visits IGCAR," Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), 11 April 2001, www.igcar.ernet.in;
[2] "Commissioning of Boron Enrichment Plant," Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), www.igcar.ernet.in;
[3] DAE (Government of India), "Annual Report 1998-1999," p. 8; DAE (Government of India), "Annual Report 2001-2002," Executive Summary available at www.dae.gov.in;
[4] "E-mail & Telephone Directory @ IGCAR," Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), www.igcar.ernet.in;
[5] "Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research," Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), www.igcar.ernet.in.

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