Defining waste

Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

voicing its concern on the issue of nuclear wastes, India has asked for the inclusion of radioactive waste generated from military activities in the convention on safety of radioactive waste management, now being drafted. It also reiterated its opposition to the inclusion of spent fuel in the convention at the recent plenary meeting of the 40th general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency ( iaea ) in Vienna, Austria.

R Chidambaram, chairperson, Atomic Energy Commission ( aec ) told the conference that "the convention can ill-afford to be silent on such wastes." Most of the environmental degradation and other impact witnessed on a global scale had resulted from radioactive waste from military activities, he said. Referring to the issue of spent fuel, the aec chairperson said that it was a resource rather than a waste for countries like India whose nuclear power programme was based on a closed fuel cycle which generates less waste. India also expressed its concern at the great amount of time and energy being devoted to the 'policing role' of the iaea.

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