HYDERABAD, MARCH 5:
Nuclear Fuel Complex (NFC), the main supplier of fuel for India's nuclear power programme, will now set up an exclusive facility to produce niobium, a key material with critical applications in space and nuclear industry.
The Rs 30-crore facility will be funded by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
To be located in its campus in Hyderabad, the centre will have a capacity to produce a minimum of 3 tonnes a year of niobium and supply it to the ISRO, said Mr R.N. Jayaraj, Chairman and chief executive of NFC.
NFC signed a memorandum of understanding with Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (part of ISRO), Thiruvananthapuram, recently. ISRO has given the financial sanction.
A consultant was appointed and the detailed project report completed. Work will begin this month and the project would be ready for commissioning in the next 12-18 months, Mr Jayaraj told Business Line.
Niobium when combined with hafnium gives us niobhat.
This alloy can withstand very high temperatures. It is used in the nozzles of spaceships, which need to be in space for long time.
Hence, the critical nature of the product, explained Mr Jayaraj.
NFC has developed the technology to make both niobium and zirconium. The alloy of niobium and zirconium is used to fabricate coolant channels of nuclear power reactors.
These coolant channels (about 306) in the core of the pressurised heavy water reactor carry the fuel rods, whose burn-up results in the generation of power.
MIDHANI, A PARTNER
NFC has also partnered C-Met and Midhani in getting the final product, niobhat, ready. NFC will make niobium thermite, and C-Met, Hyderabad, will produce hafnium thermite.
Finally, Midhani, the defence public sector undertaking, here will manufacture the alloy.
Source:Business Line : Industry & Economy News : ISRO to fund Nuclear Fuel Complex's niobium facility