New Uranium-rich sites found between Himachal’s Hamirpur and Una districts

Updated on Mar 24, 2022 02:34 AM IST

New uranium-rich sites have been found between Hamirpur and Una districts of Himachal Pradesh, which along with its tranquility is also known for its heavy metal deposits that can be used to make an atom bomb

The presence of uranium in the belt has been confirmed by the department of atomic energy. (Representative Image/HT File)
The presence of uranium in the belt has been confirmed by the department of atomic energy. (Representative Image/HT File)
By, Shimla

New uranium-rich sites have been found between Hamirpur and Una districts of Himachal Pradesh, which along with its tranquility is also known for its heavy metal deposits that can be used to make an atom bomb.

The presence of uranium in the belt has been confirmed by the department of atomic energy. “Small deposits of uranium were detected in conglomerate rocks in the area. We are studying the quality of rocks and their quantum (a discrete quantity of energy proportional in magnitude to the frequency of the radiation it represents) in the earth,” said state geologist Piyush Guleraia.

The Uranium extracts were first detected during digging operations at Lambehra village in Hamirpur district.

The Himachal industry department claims that uranium deposits had been found at 11 locations, including Hamirpur. However, they are not yet among the sites listed by the atomic minerals directorate for exploration and research (Hyderabad), the exploration arm of the department of atomic energy.

Untapped energy sources

The heavy metal has been detected in Kasha village in Nogli valley, in Rampur subdivision of Shimla district. However, Uranium deposits in Kasha and Pat villages ( collectively known as Kashapat) in Rampur Bushehr, a landlocked valley 155km east of the district headquarters, remain unexplored. The area between Kashapat and Darkrai is rich in minerals and precious Uranium, but due to lack of connectivity through road, the Uranium mines in the area remain untapped.

A few years ago, the Centre had taken the initiative to extricate Uranium from the area, but was unsuccessful due to connectivity issues.

Una richest in Uranium

Kasha-Kaladi is the richest uranium belt in Shimla district, with an estimated 200 tonnes of triuranium octoxide (U3O8), a compound of uranium, which can produce 170 tonnes of the heavy metal.

Tileli in Mandi district has 220 tonnes of triuranium octoxide (186 tonnes of Uranium). The largest deposit in the state with 364 tonnes of triuranium octoxide is in Rajpura, Una.

Guleraia says anomalous radioactivity value has been detected near Ropa village in Kinnaur district, while small deposits have also been found in Batal and Wangtu.

In Kullu district, Uranium has been traced in nine sites, including Chanjra, Dhara Kanola regions in the Parbati Valley, the Sajwar-Shakinandhar range, Hirub Giagai- Kkhalahandi in Kullu Banjar valley, Dharagardh, Nadhara, Kundli, and Panihar in Tirthan Valley and Bhatrang in the Pinrang Valley.

HP’s deposits rank 10th in country

Himachal Pradesh has the 10th largest Uranium deposits among the 11 states in the country where the heavy metal has been traced. Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and Meghalaya hold the top three positions.

Uranium Corporation of India Limited has formulated a plan to meet the target of attaining self-sufficiency in Uranium production by 2031-32, which includes maintaining supply from existing facilities, increasing the capacity of existing mines and exploring new locations.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Gaurav Bisht heads Hindustan Times’ Himachal bureau. He covers politics in the hill state and other issues concerning the masses.

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