TIRUNELVELI: The Away From Reactor (AFR) facility proposed at the Kudankulam nuclear power project (KKNPP) will be a long-term storage facility from where the spent fuel will be sent for reprocessing units.
Clarifying that the proposed AFR facility at the KKNPP premises was to store only the spent nuclear fuel from the first and second units of the KKNPP and not to dump nuclear wastes from other reactors elsewhere in India, as has been wrongly perceived by some anti-nuke activists, KKNPP site director Sanjay Kumar said that the AFR facility proposed at KKNPP is meant for the storage of spent fuel and not for storage of nuclear wastes.
Allaying public fears stemming from the misinformation spread by the activists and some politicians that the storage at the proposed AFR facility is more dangerous than the power generation process itself, the KKNPP site director explained that spent fuel management is different from that of nuclear waste management. The storage facility is a two-fold process, a short-term storage at the spent fuel storage fuel pool within the reactor building which is called At Reactor (AR) facility, and the long-term storage of the spent fuel is out of the reactor building but within the premises in the Away From Nuclear (AFR) facility.
He added that nuclear power generation projects at Rawathbatta and Tarapore already have this AFR storage facility.
According to NPCIL sources at KKNPP, spent fuel from the proposed AFR facility will be sent for reprocessing so as to be used as fuel in the 500 mwe fast breeder reactor, being built by the Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited (BHAVINI) at Kalpakkam, where a research based fast breeder test reactor of 40 MW is now under operation. The reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel helps protect the environment apart from extending fuel supply to the fast breeder reactor. It also helps reducing radioactivity and quantity of waste to be disposed of, according to KKNPP sources....