Nuclear Fuel Complex, Rajasthan

Nuclear Fuel Complex (NFC) is one of the major industrial units of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Government of India, solely responsible for manufacture and supply of nuclear fuel bundles to all nuclear power plants in India.

To meet the increased demand of natural Uranium Dioxide (UO2) fuel bundles, NFC proposes to develop a nuclear fuel manufacturing project at the Rawatbhata, Rajasthan site (RR site) near to the existing Rajasthan Atomic Power Stations (RAPS). The complex, with an envisaged capacity of 500 tonnes fuel a year, is to cater to the four PHWR plants of 700 MWe capacities each coming up by 2016 in Rajasthan and Gujarat.

In capacity, the Rawatbhata fuel complex is to be next to only Hyderabad NFC in the country which produces 850 tonnes fuel a year. This is another step of enhancement of India’s goal to India increase the capacity of nuclear power plants to 63,000 MW by 2032, from the current level of 4,780 MW.

Recent Context

The NFC has come under fierce opposition and anger against setting up the plant from local community in Rawatbhata. A public hearing, organized by the DAE and NPCIL in July 2012 was protested by local villagers claiming that they were never consulted when the nuclear power plants were set up one by one, starting from 1973 and there are various risk to human life associated with them brought about by the existing plants and the proposed fuel complex. The latest incidence of radio active exposure has been as recent as that of June 23, when two workers got affected by radio active tritium vapour at Unit 5 has also evoked the protestors to scram on mismanagement issues of the plant. Besides, the local’s fears that the uranium brought to the place for processing by truck or by train would contaminate the water and air in the area and as such the Chambal River itself was at risk.

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