THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR PERSONNEL, PUBLIC GRIEVANCES & PENSIONS AND
IN THE PRIME MINISTERâS OFFICE (SHRI V. NARAYANASAMY)
(a) Yes, sir.
(b) Nuclear waste is classified into high, intermediate and low
levels depending on the level of radioactivity in it. The spent fuel
which contains long lived radioisotopes are stored for a long period to
reduce the level of radioactivity and subsequently reprocessed at
reprocessing plants for collecting fissile elements. The generation of high
level waste is at reprocessing plants. The quantity of this waste in our
country is much smaller due to our adoption of the closed fuel cycle. High
level waste generated from the reprocessing plant is vitrified into a glassy
form, contained in multiple barrier containers and stored for an interim
period of three to four decades in engineered vaults with necessary
surveillance facilities. After cooling down in these storage facilities,
waste containers will be stored for long term in deep geological repositories.
Reprocessing and Waste Management plants are currently being operated by
Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) for spent fuels arising out of
The low and intermediate level nuclear waste containing radioactive
substances with short half life are generated at nuclear power plants
and are processed at the site in the following manner:
(i) The generated waste is solidified by fixing this in materials
like cement, polymers, glass etc., to ensure that it does not move.
(ii) The solidified waste is then stored in specially fabricated double
walled high integrity stainless steel container.
(iii) The containers containing the solidified waste are stored inside a
high integrity concrete pit at each of the nuclear power plant site.
(iv) As the waste is fixed in cement, glass, polymer, it is immobilized,
and its placement in high integrity containers inside a pit ensures that
the radioactive wastes is completely insulated from the environment.
The radioactivity level of the stored waste reduces with time and by the
end of the plant life, falls to normal levels.
Such facilities for handling low and intermediate level waste are located
at all the nuclear power stations viz. Tarapur (Maharashtra), Rawatbhata
(Rajasthan), Kalpakkam (Tamilnadu), Narora (Uttar Pradesh), Kakrapar
(Gujarat) and Kaiga (Karnataka). The quantity of low and intermediate
level waste to be stored at site during the life time including
decommissioning is within 0.15 cubic meters/year/MW.
(c) Yes, Sir.
(d) The Government is using latest technology for safe management
of the nuclear waste generated during operation of nuclear power plants.
The details are as follows:
(i) The low and intermediate level radioactive waste generated during
operation and maintenance of nuclear power plants is segregated, its volume
reduced using various technologies and solidified. This solid/solidified
waste is packaged in suitable containers to facilitate handling, transport
(ii) Disposal of low and intermediate level waste is carried out in
specially constructed structures such as stone lined trenches, reinforced
concrete trenches and tile holes. These disposal structures are located
both above and underground in access-controlled areas. Disposal system is
designed based on multi barrier principle for ensuring effective containment
of the radioactivity. The areas where the disposal structures are located
are kept under constant surveillance with the help of bore-wells laid out in
a planned manner. The underground soil and water samples from these bore wells
are routinely monitored to confirm effective confinement of radioactivity
present in the disposed waste.
The nuclear waste handling, treatment, storage and disposal is as per the well
laid down procedures and guidelines stipulated by the Atomic Energy Regulatory