Nonproliferation
Resource
Fact Sheet

Spent Nuclear Fuel in India

Management and Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel in India

  • June 1, 2020
  • 9:19 pm

Highlights

11,187.41 MTU spent nuclear fuel in storage (2016)
28,642.82 MTU* spent nuclear fuel projected by 2050
1969 First year of commercial nuclear operation
22 operating nuclear power reactors
5 operating research and test reactors
7 nuclear power reactors under construction
5.3 GW(e) installed nuclear capacity (2014)
3.13% nuclear share of domestic energy production (2018)

Regulator: Atomic Energy Regulatory Board
Power Operator: Nuclear Power Corporation of India,

*Estimated by our calculation method

Nuclear Power stations in India (as of 2019)

Management and Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel

Practices

  • Little information about Indian spent fuel storage practices is publicly available; as of 2005 fuel was stored wet onsite before transfer to an external wet storage facility or to reprocessing facility pools
  • Two operational plants, Tarapur and Madras, reprocess approximately 100 t spent fuel each per year
  • Since 2010 an India-U.S. agreement has allowed India to separate plutonium from spent U.S.-origin nuclear material, conditional on safeguards applications, physical protection in accordance with IAEA guidelines, and civilian use only
  • Fuel cycle research is dominated by plans for closed cycle strategies; research led by the Department of Atomic Energy and private research institutes prioritizes FBR use of reprocessed fuel and work towards thorium-fueled heavy water reactor cycles

Obligations

  • India, which possesses nuclear weapons but is a non-party to the Nonproliferation Treaty, has an IAEA safeguards agreement (INFCIRC/754), which entered into force in 2009, and an additional protocol (2014)
  • India is not a party to the Joint Convention
  • To carry out its “self-reliant” nuclear power development strategy, which includes thorium and recycled uranium fuel cycles, India looks to increase reprocessing capability for future fast breeder reactor (FBR) operation
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