Right in my backyard?
I guess I didn’t have to be surprised by this, since this knowledge has been in the public domain. But tell me if you fail to be as surprised as me when you read the interview of S. S. Bajaj, the chairman of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, in Tehelka:
Normal discharges of radiation through air and water have minuscule impact on people’s health and ecology. Solid radioactive wastes are managed within the plant through tile holes and trenches. The key issue is high-level waste that comes from the spent fuel. In India, we follow closed fuel cycle. We extract fissile material from the waste. After extraction, the quantity of waste is reduced, which of course needs to be stored for a long time as it radiates. Such waste is vitrified; we store it in a glass matrix covered by a steel canister, specially walled. We have a facility in Tarapur. Over the years, the quantity of the waste might increase, but we have the solutions.
Those living in Mumbai will recognize that to reach Tarapur you get off at Boisar station, which is a little way north of Virar. Tarapur also happens to host a large number of consumer goods manufacturers: the drug giant Lupin has a factory there, as do Pantaloon and Vadilal. Not so far away as the wind blows and the crow flies. The radioactive waste disposal grounds of India are at the doorsteps of Mumbai!