Ending all speculations, India on Tuesday clarified that abandoned Kolar Gold mines will not be used as dump yard for spent nuclear fuel.
NEW DELHI(BullionStreet): Ending all speculations, India on Tuesday clarified that abandoned Kolar Gold mines will not be used as dump yard for spent nuclear fuel.
The assurance was given to country's Supreme Court by Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL),operator of Kudankulam nuclear power plant in the south of the country
NPCIL executive director Ashok Chauhan said its earlier affidavit narrating the development of an underground chamber in Kolar gold mine had led to unwarranted speculation in a section of media about converting it into a site for storage of nuclear waste.
The NPCIL had said in its November 7 affidavit, "Keeping in line with the international developments, the initial focus of work in the 1980s mainly centred on setting up generic underground research laboratory (URL) in one of the abandoned mines in India and resulted in the development of an underground chamber in Kolar gold mine located in south India."
It said permanent geological disposal of vitrified high level radioactive waste in specifically designed geological repository (DGR), located at a suitable depth in a carefully selected site constituted the end point of management of spent fuel.
Answering allegations by petitioner G Sundarrajan through advocate Pranav Sachdeva about lack of preparedness to store spent fuel from KNPP, the NPCIL said the need for managing KNPP would arise only a few decades from now. NPCIL said, "
Current efforts within the Indian geological repository programme are directed towards granite based URL. In India, we have granite rock formation spread all over the country. As such, setting up of a deep geological repository is not much of a technological challenge, but as the case internationally elsewhere, it is more of socio-political issue."
It informed the court, which is hearing the PIL alleging that essential safety measures identified after the Fukushima disaster had not been put in place at KNPP, that India had decades of experience and expertise in management of radioactive waste.
"It is recognized that the technologies currently adopted are adequate and safe, but research and development efforts continue for improvement of existing technology and development of new technologies so as to enhance process performance and meet future challenges," NPCIL said.