No plan to dump nuclear waste at KGF, says Centre

 Just days after reports appeared in the press that nuclear waste would be dumped in the abandoned Kolar gold mines in Karnataka, the Centre has reassured the Supreme Court that it had no such plans exist and described the confuson and resulting panic as being the result of misreporting by the media.

In a supplementary affidavit filed in the court on Tuesday, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) said that it is not considering the Kolar gold mines of Bharat Gold Mines Ltd (BGML) as a storage location for nuclear waste as was being alleged or suggested by the press.

 The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has also asserted that Kolar gold mines will never be considered a site for dumping nuclear waste.

Official explanation

To explain what the DAE had been doing in the KGF, Department spokesperson S K Malhotra said on Tuesday that the, “The Department had been conducting studies in the Kolar underground chamber to understand the “behaviour of rock mass at an elevated temperature and ultimately develop appropriate models, their validation and develop suitable instrumentation for underground mining conditions.”

These studies are being carried out since 1980s at a depth of 1,000 mts in the amphibolite rock formation of Kolar Gold Fields. The studies employ electrical heaters to simulate heat conditions that are encountered in an actual Deep Geological Repository (DGR).

Setting up a DGR is preceded by years of research, he added.
Malhotra emphasised that the Kolar gold mines, which is vulnerable to water ingress, had never been and would never be a candidate for deep geological repository.

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