India’s Fast Breeder Reactors (FBRs) will give the country the ability to make many more nuclear weapons than generally estimated. Since Fast Breeder Reactors produce more fissile material than they consume, it will enable large quantities of available plutonium to be used for nuclear weapons instead of producing electricity like traditional light water reactors. Nevertheless, the Fast Breeder Test Reactor (FBTR) has already produced enough fissile material to make dozens of bombs. Homi Jehangir Bhabha devised India’s vision of its FBR program in November 1954. He presented histhree stage vision of the country’s nuclear energy program. In the first stage, India would use uranium to fuel pressurized heavy water reactors and to produce Plutonium-239 as a by-product. In the second stage, that Plutonium-239 would be used to produce MOX fuel. The advance nuclear system would use a combination of Uranium-233 and locally available Thorium. In the third stage, India would build FBRs that could run on the resulting Uranium-233.
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This article was published in Anthology Series for Strategic Studies, Volume 4, 2019 at Center for Strategic Studies in Canada.