India plans to step up uranium mining | india | Hindustan Times
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India plans to step up uranium mining

Giant machines will soon begin exploratory drilling for uranium in Chitrial area of Nalgonda district in Andhra Pradesh.

india Updated: Mar 16, 2006 13:52 IST

Giant machines will soon begin exploratory drilling for uranium in Chitrial area of Nalgonda district in Andhra Pradesh.

Noise from the drilling rigs will drown the voices of those who for years have opposed uranium mining in the district fearing it might poison nearby Nagarjunasagar reservoir, a major source of drinking water.

The Atomic Minerals Division (AMD), a unit of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), located in Hyderabad, has invited tenders for exploratory drilling estimated to cost Rs 25 million.

The tenders will be opened on March 29 and work could begin from April and be completed in eight months, according to officials of AMD.

The new drilling area, approximately 130 km southeast of Hyderabad, is at the heart of Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary.

Chitrial, is an important place (in Nalgonda district) where radioactivity is spread over an area of 50 square kilometres, according to AMD which says the area "is expected to add significantly to the uranium resource of the country."

The Indo-US deal may have cleared the way for uranium import but a cautious DAE has stepped up uranium exploration everywhere in the country.

To speed up uranium search, AMD has introduced contract drilling and is also planning to outsource geophysical exploration, says Sinha.

Besides the Chitrial area in Andhra Pradesh, AMD plans to take up exploratory drilling in several promising sites.

These include Deshnur in Belgaum district of Karnataka at Prodattur in Cuddapah, Baskati in Mahakoshal-Vindhyan, Silekjhodi fault in Indravati, Chirwa in Aravalli-Delhi, and Sakra fracture zone in Bijawar-Vindhyan basins.

Bhima basin in Karnataka and Khandela area of North Delhi fold belt are potential sources of uranium, says AMD.

Rohil deposit of Rajasthan and Raghunathpura, Haryana are also said to be "promising".

AMD says "reconnaitory" drilling will continue at Maira and its adjoining areas in Kangra and Una districts of Himachal Pradesh, and will be started at Sayamba and Taladih in Koira basin in Sundergarh district of Orissa.

Sinha says "I am sure India will emerge as a uranium surplus country within a decade and become a world leader in this field.