Spent fuel storage cleared for Kudankulam units 3 & 4

NPCIL proposed it at the site where 2 x 1,000-MW units 1 and 2 are in operation

The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) has granted consent for the establishment of Away From Reactor spent fuel storage for the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project’s units 3 and 4. The consent will be valid for five years from August 23, 2021, the date of issuance.

Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) had proposed Away From Reactor storage for units 3 and 4 on the existing site, where the 2 x 1,000-MW units 1 and 2 are in operation and the 4 x 1,000-MW units 3-6 are in various stages of construction.

The AERB said in its consent letter that the primary responsibility for safety of the facility rested with NPCIL. “It is the responsibility of the Consentees to comply with safety requirements as specified in the regulations.” The AERB said the criteria for evaluation of a site for locating a particular nuclear facility was to ensure that the site-plant interaction did not result in radiological impact beyond the limits prescribed by the AERB, and the site was engineered to handle external hazards.

The AERB said the Away From Reactor storage was proposed to be located within the main plant boundary of units 5 and 6, and all the phenomena/criteria that could result in the rejection of the site had already been reviewed by it during the siting review for units 3-6. Hence, following the graded approach, the review emphasised the impact of the plant on the site, like radiological impact, owing to postulated releases during normal operations and accidents and radioactive waste management. “These were reviewed against the AERB’s dose criteria,” it said.

G. Sundarrajan of Poovulagin Nanbargal said that instead of finding a location for a deep geological repository for safe disposal of nuclear waste, as directed by the Supreme Court, NPCIL was seeking permission for constructing an Away From Reactor disposal location for reactors 3 and 4. “After they locate the deep repository, it will take them a long time to construct the facility. Permission for Away From Reactor disposal can be granted once the location of the deep repository is found,” he said in a statement.

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