India will not be sending back the spent fuel generated at the nuclear power plants located in Tamil Nadu’s Kudankulam as it considers it as a material of resource, Union Science and Technology Minister Dr Jitendra Singh has said.
He also said there is a need to have a deep underground geological disposal facility for spent nuclear fuel in the near future.
Singh, in a written reply in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday to a question raised by DMK’s T.R. Baalu, said the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Agreement of 2010 facilitates storage and reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel generated at Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP).
“India has adopted a ‘closed fuel cycle’, where spent nuclear fuel is regarded as a material of resource,” he said.
“Given the very small quantity of high level waste generated post reprocessing and technologies for separation, partitioning and burning of waste being developed by the country, there is no need of deep underground geological disposal facility in the near future.”
On the issue of construction of a spent fuel storage facility at the KNPP, Singh said: “The scheme of storage of spent (used) fuel in a nuclear power plant is two-fold. The first place of storing spent fuel is located within the reactor building/service building, generally known as the spent fuel storage pool/bay and the other is called the ‘Away From Reactor’ (AFR) Spent Fuel Storage Facility, within the plant premises.”
He said these facilities are designed with a comprehensive approach to safety to withstand extreme natural events like earthquakes and tsunamis with provisions of large operational safety margins for safe, sound, and reliable performance.