» R & D »Reprocessing and Nuclear Waste Management

Core R & D Areas

Recovery of strategic materials from spent fuel
Development and demonstration of advanced processes, equipment and technologies for the back-end of the fuel cycle
Development studies for formulation of vitreous matrices for immobilisation of futuristic High Level Wastes from reprocessing of spent fuel from AHWR and Fast Reactor systems
Development and demonstration of hull monitoring system, Direct fuel transfer from pool to chopper unit for high throughput and online Pu monitoring in process solutions
Setting up of an engineering scale actinide separation demonstration facility
Evaluation of Neptunium behavior for actinide partitioning
Evaluation of a novel extractant by batch solvent extraction and Supported Liquid Membrane (SLM) studies
Basic studies of Uranium and other toxic metals uptake from the Uranium mill tailing ponds by local plants, using characterisation techniques such as Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (IC-PMS)
Decontamination of systems and components
Remote handling, design and construction of systems and components
Indigenous development of process equipment and related studies.

BARC has come a long way since it first began reprocessing of spent fuel in the year 1964 at Trombay. The recycling and optimal utilisation of uranium is essential to meet our current and future energy security needs. Reprocessing of spent fuel followed by separation of minor actinides will also ensure reduction of radiotoxicity of radioactive waste and the need for long term isolation from the geosphere. Nuclear Recycle Program of DAE also includes recovery of strategic materials from spent fuel for recycling and R&D in the areas of spent fuel reprocessing and waste management. Presently, reprocessing plants are in operation at Trombay, Tarapur and Kalpakkam. Power Reactor Fuel Reprocessing Plant (PReFRe-1) at Tarapur was designed, built and commissioned in 1974 through indigenous R & D efforts. Kalpakkam Fuel Reprocessing Plant (KARP) is the second facility for processing fuel from Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs).

Reprocessing & Waste management plants will be integrated for the first time with Integrated Nuclear Recycle Plant, Tarapur (IP-1) using “SOLID IN & SOLID OUT” concept with a plant design capacity of 600 Tones of Heavy Metal per annum. Engineering design and infrastructure development activities are in progress. The Power Reactor Fuel Reprocessing Plant (PReFRe-2), set up at Tarapur was inaugurated by Honourable Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India on January 2011 which is now in regular operation. New Gang type chopper and Automated charging facility have performed to their desired capacities. The operation of the Waste Management Facilities at Trombay and Kalpakkam for treatment and storage of radioactive waste is being done by BARC. Joule Melter used for vitrification of high level
waste at Tarapur was shut down after operation for 3 years and has been decommissioned using indigenously developed tools. BARC also manages treatment and safe disposal of radioactive waste both in solid and liquid forms which are generated at BARC and NPCIL units at Tarapur. Various chemical processing methods are used to treat both low and high level wastes. India is one of the few countries to have mastered the technology of vitrification.

BARC has the unique distinction of successfully operating two vitrification plants at Tarapur and Trombay for management of High Level Waste. In addition BARC manages spent radiation sources from all over the country from various medical centres, research institutions and industrial units.

Some recent developments in the area of back-end of the fuel cycle include: Successful plant operation using computer-based Control & Instrumentation System including seismically qualified nuclear instruments; Development and fabrication of continuous rotary dissolver of 400 Tons Per Year (TPY) reprocessing capacity of spent fuel; Remote dismantling of joule heated ceramic melter to facilitate its decommissioning, which has been demonstrated on actual scale melter system using indigenously developed remotely operated tools; Development and demonstration of vitrification technology using cold crucible induction melter by successful completion of simulated waste feed experiments and making it adaptable for Low Level Waste treatment.

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Computer-based Control & Instrumentation System for PReFRe-II

Computer-based Control & Instrumentation System for PReFRe-II

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New gang type chopper and automated charging facility

New gang type chopper and automated charging facility

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Breaking of melter cavity glass

Breaking of melter cavity glass