From the above article:
. . .
But aside from the almost 1-percent plutonium in the spent fuel and the 94-percent uranium 238, the other 5 percent of mass (called "fission products") is removed and melted together with glass into a vitrified product that is encased in welded stainless steel canisters.
. . .
I believe the following:
1) For India, reprocessing is
the answer. For India, spent fuel from its PHWRs and FBRs and imported LWRs contains "wealth" in the form of several fissionable nucleii (U, Pu, Am, Np etc) in useful quantities. Spent fuel is not
2) Deep underground geological storage concept (such as the "Yucca Mountain" proposal), is highly unlikely to ever receive favourable public acceptance. The best option would be to reprocess the spent fuel rods coming out of the reactors to separate and recover the unburnt Uranium and the transuranic elements (such as Plutonium, Neptunium, Americium), and then break-down (transmute) the remaining radioactive fission products (five percent, as in the above quote) using appropriate particle accelerators so that they can be turned into non-radioactive (or short-lived-radioactive) nucleii for storage/disposal.
I believe R&D work towards developing Accelerator Driven System to do this, is at the initial stages in India. My view is that, to accelerate the pace of indigenous development of ADS, the "energy booster" aspect should probably be delinked, (at least initially, irrespective of resulting possible unfavourable cost angle) and the transmutation of the highly radioactive fission products must be given over-arching priority. India must not wait for this development to take place in foreign countries, but must initiate pioneering efforts to indigenously develop this technology on a war-footing. Development of this technology is more important than spending money in importing npps, if we do not want to have accumulating fields
of un-reprocessed spent fuel casks (or shielded containers with vitrified highly radioactive fission products) on our land.
Here is a link to the Wikipedia article on Nuclear transmutation
that gives some information about the long-lived fission products in typical spent fuel rods.