India's 50-year-old research reactor CIRUS, the iconic symbol of the country's civil and military nuclear programme, was shut down permanently at midnight tonight in line with its commitment made under its civil nuclear deal with the US.
CIRUS (Canada India Reactor Utility Services), refurbished in 2003, has been shut down permanently by the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre(BARC) as per our commitment under Indo-US civil nuclear cooperation agreement, BARC director R K Sinha told PTI.
It played an important role in the development of the country's indigenous nuclear power programme and also in the first nuclear test in Pokhran in 1974 using the plutonium from its spent fuel as part of strategic programme of the Department of Atomic Energy.
Supplied by Canada, CIRUS, which used the indigenous uranium fuel, has been fully utilised. It attained criticality (first nuclear chain reaction) on July 10, 1960.
"The scientists had worked out a way by which they were able to utilise the fuel fully before the reactor was shut down," Sinha said.
Although it could have operated for few more years, the research reactor had to be shut down permanently because of India's commitment---purely a political one.
"We are not attaching any significance to the process," Sinha said, adding "it is like any other long-term shutdown of any reactor for those who are working with the reactor.
The most important step in shutting down is the slow draining out of heavy water moderator, Sinha said.
50-Yr Old Research N-Reactor CIRUS Shut Down
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