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T.V.K. Woddi, "Nuclear Fuel Cycle Assessment of India: A Technical Study for U.S.-India Cooperation," Ph.D. Dissertation, Texas A & M University, December 2007.



The recent civil nuclear cooperation proposed by the Bush Administration and the Government of India has heightened the necessity of assessing India's nuclear fuel cycle inclusive of nuclear materials and facilities. This agreement proposes to change the long-standing U.S. policy of preventing the spread of nuclear weapons by denying nuclear technology transfer to non-NPT signatory states. The nuclear tests in 1998 have convinced the world community that India would never relinquish its nuclear arsenal. This has driven the desire to engage India through civilian nuclear cooperation. The cornerstone of any civilian nuclear technological support necessitates the separation of military and civilian facilities. A complete nuclear fuel cycle assessment of India emphasizes the entwinment of the military and civilian facilities and would aid in moving forward with the separation plan. To estimate the existing uranium reserves in India, a complete historical assessment of ore production, conversion, and processing capabilities was performed using open source information and compared to independent reports. Nuclear energy and plutonium production (reactor- and weapons-grade) was simulated using declared capacity factors and modern simulation tools. The three-stage nuclear power program entities and all the components of civilian and military significance were assembled into a flowsheet to allow for a macroscopic vision of the Indian fuel cycle.

A detailed view of the nuclear fuel cycle opens avenues for technological collaboration. The fuel cycle that grows from this study exploits domestic thorium reserves with advanced international technology and optimized for the existing system. To utilize any appreciable fraction of the world's supply of thorium, nuclear breeding is necessary. The two known possibilities for production of more fissionable material in the reactor than is consumed as fuel are fast breeders or thermal breeders. This dissertation analyzes a thermal breeder core concept involving the CANDU core design. The end-oflife fuel characteristics evolved from the designed fuel composition is proliferation resistant and economical in integrating this technology into the Indian nuc lear fuel cycle. Furthermore, it is shown that the separation of the military and civilian components of the Indian fuel cycle can be facilitated through the implementation of such a system.

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Associated Project(s):

  • Technical Analyses of the U.S.-India Nuclear Accord

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