New Delhi: In a first initiative of its
kind, India has begun scouting for deep underground sites to
store for several decades the nuclear waste generated from its
burgeoning atomic power programme.
As a first step, the Department of Atomic Energy will set
up an underground laboratory in one of its uranium mines to
study qualities of the rock at the mine bottom to decide
whether it can be used to store nuclear waste.
"We are looking for a rock formation that is geologically
stable, totally impervious and without any fissures," Atomic
Energy Commission Chairman Srikumar Banerjee told reporters
He said the DAE plans to set up the underground facility
during the 12th Plan Period for studying the Deep Geological
Repository to store the high level nuclear waste.
The site should not have experienced any event in
recorded history and should have a cooling mechanism using air
draft as the nuclear waste would generate decay heat, which
has to be removed.
However, as Indian atomic programme is committed to
follow the closed fuel cycle the final nuclear waste may not
have long half-life as is the case with some other countries.