Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on 7 Jan, inaugurated a 100-tonne per annum Power Reactor Fuel Reprocessing Plant at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) at Tarapur. he plant is expected to replace the existing 10-tonne per annum facility at BARC. The new facility is capable of reprocessing 100 tonnes of spent fuel a year. It is expected to enhance India’s presence in the select club of countries using the closed fuel cycle technology. This is a significant milestone in India’s three-stage indigenous nuclear programme.
The new facility is planned to be used for commercial exploitation in the future. The uranium and plutonium comprising the spent fuel from nuclear power reactors were are separated and re-used. The plutonium will be used for other requirements of new or existing power plants.
The Prime Minister, DR. Manmohan Singh, while commissioning the second Power Reactor Reprocessing Plant said “We have come a long way since the first reprocessing of spent fuel in India in the year 1964 at Trombay. The recycling and optimal utilization of Uranium is essential to meet our current and future energy security needs. The vision of the founding fathers of our nuclear programme, Jawaharlal Nehru and Homi Bhabha, was to achieve the mastery of the complete fuel cycle, thus enabling India to use our vast and abundant thorium resources in advanced nuclear power reactors. The reprocessing of spent fuel is therefore the key to our three stage indigenous nuclear power programme. Reprocessing is essential in the transition to the second stage of fast breeder reactors which we have begun, and in the subsequent third stage using thorium in advanced reactors.”