Last Updated: November 21, 2011
Other Name: Zero Energy Reactor for Lattice Investigations and New Assemblies
Location: Mumbai, India
Subordinate To: Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India
Facility Status:

India's third research reactor, Zerlina, reached criticality on January 14, 1961. This zero-energy experimental reactor was indigenously built but used U.S.-supplied heavy water as a moderator and coolant. Zerlina was used for studies of the spatial arrangement of fissionable and nonfissionable materials in uranium heavy water reactors. The tank-type reactor was the first of a series of critical assemblies built by BARC. The unsafeguarded reactor burned natural uranium fuel rods to produce a nominal power output of 100 watts. The reactor was decommissioned and dismantled in 1983. BARC scientists applied lessons learned from Zerlina in the design, construction, and operation of future reactors.

[1] Andrew Koch, "Selected Indian Nuclear Facilities," Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS), 1999,
[2] Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC); 2000 World Nuclear Industry Handbook (Wilmington, UK: Nuclear Engineering International, 2000), p. 198.

Country Profile
Flag of India

This article provides an overview of India’s historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.

Learn More →

This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2017.